Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dust colored people

One of the fun things about being at a big university like A&M is getting to be around people from all over the world, it's fun just seeing the diversity in faces and accents, etc. But one thing stuck me today: it's interesting, and of course perfectly natural that all human skin colors are also the exact same colors as dirt, sand, clay, dust, and soil. It's natural because we are Images made out of dirt and dust and clay. The color of human beings is the color of the earth. Again, David Hegeman talks about this in his aforementioned book, God made man, Adam out of the dust of the earth, Adamah. Thus quite literally we are earthlings, though that sounds very sci-fi-ish.

Perhaps if we remembered this, or more deeply knew it, gnostisism (the material is evil) would be less of a threat, and we would be more immune to much secular philosophy, which Peter Leithart has defined as "a highly rarefied form of dirt avoidance."

But back to human diversity, it seems this is a big part of how we image God who is infinite and both one and many, in order to image some of his infiniteness, each of us with our bodies and souls are slightly different reflecting another angle and different rays of His Glory.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Nature and Culture

I just finished reading this excellent short book on the making of medieval books. Reading this book (and reading Umberto Eco's the Name of the Rose, and playing the Myst games...) makes me want to make a book before I die. Perhaps copy out favorite poems or a book of the Bible, over the course of several years in my spare time. Anyway, here's a quote that struck me:

"But the reason for the shape (of illuminated manuscripts) is because animals are oblong, and the reason why books even today are taller then they are wide is because in there medieval ancestry there was a millennium when they were made from folding animal-shaped parchment."

This made me think about the relationship between nature and culture. Christianity understands culture to be natural and nature to be cultural, because God ordained culture at the end of his creation of nature, and also creates and inspires works of culture. In addition to the book of nature he wrote through the hands and words of men a great book. He gave plans for the construction of buildings like the temple. These are works of human culture, but by the maker of nature.

Also Eden was a cultivated garden, as the whole world is (and was) supposed to me. "The Bible begins with a garden and ends with a garden-city"as David Hegeman says in his excellent book on a Biblical Theology of Culture. This is something about nature that environmentalists never seem to understand. Trees weren't meant to be alone. They need to be trimmed and groomed and looked after. Nature isn't nature without culture. At the same time culture flows from nature.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Jacek Yerka


I just discovered this wonderful artist from the Lines and Colors blog. Check out his website here. This image called Jesien, reminds me of This place from Riven:

Alot of his work seems to be in the same sort of worlds as Myst and Riven, and near perhaps some of the Narnia worlds and Harry Potter worlds.

It seems the surrealism I like usually has nothing to do with perspective tricks, etc (like Escher, as much as I like his work) I like rather a world that takes reality and twists it slightly, giving the adjectives of one thing to something completely different (as tolkien describes fantasy), all while remaining plausible. Much of Jacek's work has this quality and a few pieces are more like pop surrealism. I guess it's the difference between a fully detailed world building and simple optical illusions.

The difference between his surrealism, and say Dali's is the difference between a nightmare and a dream, you might say. It's a world you want to go to.

Class sketches

(It helps me not fall asleep);)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Leithart on Beauty's Authority

"Beauty makes demands. If I hear the central movement of Beethoven's Appassionata or any of a dozen other pieces of music, I can't do anything else. I've got to listen. Try not breathing deeply when you catch a whiff of hyacinth. Try not looking at a beautiful landscape, a beautiful building, a beautiful woman. It's possible not to look, but it takes an act of resistance, a rebellion.

David Bentley Hart appeals to this to establish the objectivity of beauty: If beauty were purely subjective, could it command attention, could it fascinate, could it surprise?"

-Peter Leithart

I love Leithart's blog.

Monday, September 11, 2006

the image of machine (and book selling)

"There is, alas, a shrillness to our contemporary concern with creativity. Man's search for the sources of dignity changes with the pattern of the times. In periods which man saw himself in the image of God, the creation and works ad majorem gloriam dei could provide a sufficient rational for the dignity of the artist, the artisan, the creative man. But in our age whose dominant value is a pragmatic one and whose massive achievement is an intricate technological order, it is not sufficient to be merely useful. For the servant can pattern himself on the master-and so he did when God was master and Man His servant creating works in His glory-but the machine is the servant of man, and to pattern one's function on the machine provides no measure for dignity. The machine is useful, the system in terms of which the machines gain there use is efficient, but what is man?"

-Jerome Bruner in On Knowing: Essays for the Left Hand

I stumbled upon that passage while buying books in a thrift shop. The book isn't worth anything on Amazon, but it's worth something to me. So often when bookscouting, I feel like a bank robber.

I walk in to the store and buy Anna Karenina, War and Peace, Crime and Punishment, and 3 other hard back collector's editions. Each for one dollar. Classics inlaid with 24 carrot gold should not be sold for a dollar!

And all this (plus a 30 min. bike ride) in the hour and a half between classes.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Weirdish dreams of late

-A few weeks ago I dreamed that I sold a book (on amazon) to Bono (I've no idea what the book was.)

-The other night I dreamed I attended a musical play version of the animated philosophical movie Waking Life (which is actually about dreaming)

-Last night I dreamed I had some sort of Trek through Corpus carrying a BB rifle and a real handgun, and a few other items I can't remember. I didn't use them at all, and I didn't seem to have the guns to use them, just to carry them (I may have even held them in a bag or by the barrel)

Edit: Thoughts on sources of the dreams. The first one undoubtedly came from listening to U2 while bookscouting or packaging books. The second probably came from listening to Les Miz while riding 20 min to the movie theater to see an another animated movie by Richard Linklater who made waking life, and listening to Les Miz alot and watching alot of Linklater films alot. The last dreamI've no idea.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I saw this guy walk out of the Philosophy building, and I couldn't help but turn around, ride by him and snap a photo with my camera phone. Too bad it wasn't set to hi-rez though.

Is it ethical to do this? I don't know. Oh well.

I looked up the book he is carrying on amazon:
It's a book on global warming. I was dissapointed, I was hoping for something far more erudite.

Oddly enough the previous photo I snapped on my new camera phone was this.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

49 Up

This looks very interesting. In the 50's a group of British 7 year olds were interviewed, then again every 7 years. They are all 49 now and this is there story.

Reminds me, I have to write a letter to myself for a class that my teacher promises to send me in 5 years. Should be interesting.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Bookselling and online audio

Over the last few months, I've made online bookselling my primary source of income. I use a service for my cell phone called ScoutPal to check the prices and ranking of books before I buy them. This afternoon I went to to thrift stores and spent about 9$ on books that I can probably resell for over 200$. To see my amazon store go here. If you want to do what I do read Steve Weber's bookselling blog or read his excellent book. Also check out

This morning while finding stuff to listen to while I worked I found Classical Cat a huge organized collection of free classical music online, I downloaded several hours worth.

Also, Ken Meyers just started a free Mars Hill Audio Podcast! I've been a fan of his audio journal for a while. Great way to discover great books and interesting authors.