Saturday, August 27, 2016

summer reading: non-fic

hey hey.  I did a fair bit of reading this summer (and still going) so I thought I'd start sharing some of the stuff I've plowed through in the past couple months.  there's a big stack, so I'm starting with the non-fiction and non-poetry...

1. searching for sunday. so I'd already read rachel held evans's other book, evolving in monkey town, a bit more than a year ago when my priest in tennessee loaned it to me.  this book definitely comes from the assumption that you are in the camp of faith, that you're a believer, and addresses struggles with how the church seems to often do a really sucky job of being the church.  so it might not make everybody happy, but it could be cathartic to read for anyone who identifies with that evangelicalism-to-"????" faith journey.  I can generally recommend evans's thoughtful writing in terms of quality.  the only thing you could find here to offend you would be her piercing critiques. 

2. saving darwin.  the subtitle to this book is "how to be a christian and believe in evolution."  it doesn't matter if you like darwinism or not, though the writer of this book obviously does, you should probably read this book. creationists, please read this book so that at least you can stop spreading embarrassing lies and misinformation. darwinists, please read this book so that you can stop spreading caricatures and lumping all christians into one camp.  everyone, please read this book so that you can get a bit of perspective and think critically without the hysteria that characterizes the topic. the writing style is fantastic, though I'd say this guy is still relatively sarcastic at moments, so keep your shirt on, mabel.

3. something other than god. a book with a slightly misleading title, since although jennifer spends a lot of her life searching for something other than god, she ends up finding--you guessed it, the catholic church. it's actually pretty interesting because she doesn't have a huge conversion "moment." rather, over time and chapters, she realizes that she believes in (a) god now? and then the idea of purgatory and the policy on contraception seem to make the catholic church resound with her.  at any rate, she's interesting, her husband is interesting, and it's pretty compelling that they were both drawn into religion simultaneously.  the punctuation in the book, however, is...nontraditional and sort of set me on edge, but you can get past that, haha.

all right, those are the non-fiction books I've finished already, though there are more in the rotation at the moment.  with school/work lately, there wasn't much time to read in the last couple of weeks, but when things settle into a routine, it'll all get more relaxed, I think.  what are you guys reading lately?

Thursday, August 18, 2016

august playlist

hey kids, here's a short playlist for you this month! and here's an unrelated picture of a train in chicago...

Monday, August 15, 2016

this goodly frame (shedd aquarium)

hey kids, welcome to shedd.

shedd aquarium is one of my favorite places on earth.  possibly my favorite, I don't know.  it is the one place that will always live up to your memories of it.

I wandered around for many hours just gazing at all the things I remembered.  it's a phenomenal aquarium, and probably the best place I've ever seen in terms of humane habitats for creatures. I was a little afraid that coming back much older, I'd be disillusioned, but I'm still so impressed with their facilities.

these jellies flop around upside down because they're farmers.  they grow algae all in their fluffy tentacles, which is why they have to face the sunlight. cool, right?

first of all, when I visited as a kid, I became enamored of the belugas.  I couldn't even tell you exactly why it's belugas for me, but it is... and I remember later on, when the calves were born, my grandpa would send me clippings from the newspapers.  now, it's so surreal to go back and see this baby all grown up and like four years old.  old enough to have learned how to stick her tail in the air but not quite old enough to stop doing it all the time hoping to get a reward.  meanwhile the older whales just do donuts shaking their heads and saying, "you moron, it isn't time. you're not getting nothing."

and now for a brief interlude of jellyfish: my other favorite animals. just look at 'em.

it's really a little mind-blowing when you haven't been to a place since you were young, and when you return, you realize that there are other animals on the planet who live as long as we do.  You don't really expect it, but they're all still there.  that one sea turtle who was hit by a boat and so her back end always floats up?  yeah, still there.

on a more practical note, I'll add that I did get my ticket online because the basic admission is like a two-hour wait.  in addition, you have to get a fancy pass to get access to everything there is, and if you're wondering whether it's worth it, it is.  you need the pass to get into the oceanarium, which is where the belugas and dolphins and such are, and that is definitely worth the price of admission.  it's the most magical.

anyways, there you have it!  of all the places I've ever recommended, shedd is probably at the top. if you ever get a chance to go, make sure you do!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

chicago: the field museum

greetings, children!

I just got home from a trip to chicago, so let's continue the trend of pictures-from-places that this blog has become.

fun fact about me: I love the atlantic ocean, but I may have even more of an attachment to lake michigan.  there's a lot of childhood nostalgia wrapped up in both bodies of water.  just look at it up there, blue!  I'll tell you, you can get better sea glass in lake michigan than you can anywhere else.

I had an early flight on sunday, so there was tons of time to get a bus up to the field museum and wander around for the afternoon. I got basic admission tickets online beforehand and look kids, that's the way you want to go, trust me.

real talk: I have a lot of good memories of the field museum, and as always, I'm going to love a place that's got a lot of old dead things...but I must admit, as a "museum experience," it's quite second to the american museum of natural history, which I have blogged a few times.

I'm not sure how to quantify that, to be honest.  and it doesn't really matter because the field museum is so. much. more. than just a museum, but you know, the dioramas leave something to be desired, and it's less impressive from a design/presentation standpoint, if that makes any sense.  regardless, lots to learn, and a fantastic plant section!  if my job could be making models of a million plant specimens, I'd be in heaven.

I am, of course, inclined to like the field museum, nostalgia aside, simply because I'm such a big fan of emily graslie and the brain scoop, which you should check out.  because of following her on twitter, I was all sorts of excited about the brand new (relatively) hyena diorama, which was very impressive.

oh hey, sue, my fave.  did you know t.rexes had unlimited tooth supplies? like, in that picture you can make out that one is broken, and a few back, a new one is coming in...

anyways, that was the field museum!  stay tuned for another post of pictures soon because I also made it to shedd aquarium aka my favorite place on earth, and I'll try to get that up this week too. peace out, kiddos!

Monday, August 1, 2016

henry's upstairs + a ragdoll kitten

hey kids!  there's this coffeeshop in lawrence with a bar upstairs where they have irish music jam sessions on sunday nights.  I met a friend out there around six, and I loved the inside of this little bar.  big windows, nice aesthetic, good bourbon, interesting art choices, haha... and the music was just so nice to hear.  it's all stuff I grew up on but didn't really know anyone else into it for the most part.  so it was a little surreal to hear all these folk tunes played by a dozen or so people.  I would have liked to take better pictures, but I have weird feels about taking pictures of people without permission when I'm not in my town.  at any rate, if you're around lawrence some sunday, you ought to check it out.  all in all, extremely pleasant way to spend an evening.

and now I leave you with this picture of the most adorable kitten currently living.  happy monday, everybody!