29 May 2009

Happy Birthday, G.K. Chesterton!

Fun fact: fantasy/science fiction authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman dedicated their collaborative novel "Good Omens" to the memory of Chesterton. (I haven't read "Good Omens" but I've read many of Pratchett's "Discworld" novels and do recommend them--most of them are even suitable for young teens, which is more than can be said for many science fiction/fantasy novels written in the last 20 or so years.)

Celebrate Chesterton's birthday. Have a beer, read something witty, become a distributist (join a guild! or form one!).

17 May 2009

Kudos Msgr. Parnassus, Again

The regular cantor for the 5:30 Saturday Mass suffered a car break-down in Santa Barbara yesterday morning, so I was called in to sub. I always have a funny experience subbing for that Mass. I don't feel the freedom to choose my own repertoire that I feel for the Sunday Mass, because I have to work with an organist I don't know very well and the congregation's expectations. But I love hearing Msgr. Parnassus's homilies. Yesterday he talked about Obama at Notre Dame. The basic gist of it was that the President's views are not in line with Catholic teaching, he should not be honored, the President of Notre Dame is willfully disregarding the (totally appropriate) recommendations of dozens of bishops, and if we as Catholics compromise our beliefs for the sake of political correctness, then when Judgment comes, we will be found wanting.

He actually said that, "will be found wanting."

I love Msgr. Parnassus. I don't know if he's always been this way, or if there's something about being old and frail that makes you unafraid to speak the truth. He has been looking pretty frail lately, using a walker instead of his more usual cane. Please pray that he lives a good long while yet, and that he continues to be able to walk far enough and stand long enough to say Mass. We need him desperately.

Msgr. Murphy is pretty cool, too. He told us last week that since the Friday-night EF High Mass went so well a couple of weeks ago, he wants to have an EF Missa Cantata at some point in the future at the time of our regularly-scheduled Sunday evening Mass. Our choir would be super excited to sing for that, and I think that congregation would respond well. They seem to be a flexible group, with fairly marked traditional inclinations.

Last night at Mass, we prayed during the general intercessions for Msgr. Murphy's aunt, who is very ill (possibly dying). Pray that if God chooses to take her soon, that her death will be full of grace and peace.

13 May 2009

Semester is Over

It's probably time to talk a little bit about how my semester went. I re-took my M.A. comprehensive exams. I did well enough last year that the professors would allow me to leave with an M.A., but the exams also serve as screening for PhD candidates, and they thought I wasn't ready for PhD work. So I asked to take the exam again, and this time they said they were pleased with my work and thought I was ready to go forward to PhD work.

I had three classes this semester: a survey of music in the 19th century, a course on Renaissance performance practice, and a seminar on postmodernism and concert music. The Renaissance class was relatively easy for me, since I've done a fair amount of coursework in that area before with both that professor and her husband (they have similar teaching styles). The 19th century stuff was kind of hard for me because I'm not fond of symphonic music, and the Romantic sentimentality gets on my nerves after a while. The postmodernism course was also difficult, because at first I was unfamiliar with the vocabulary of postmodernism, and later because it prompted a lot of self-searching about how I am and am not postmodern. I think the problem is that I like a lot of the aesthetic end-products of postmodernism, but I don't agree with the ideology that leads to them. That might be a post for some other day.

The semester is over now. It was unusually stressful. Difficult classes, the comprehensive exams, being sick and having my car in the shop, and then the loss of my grandmother. As I told my dad yesterday, I feel like I've been through the forge. But I also have a greater sense of accomplishment than I ever remember feeling at the end of a school year, and that's good.

I only have one more year of course work to go, then it's all dissertation. We might move out of Los Angeles then. My parents have been helping us, but probably won't be able to help anymore after next school year, and unless we get better jobs we won't be able to afford living in L.A. Too bad--we really like our parish, and are not likely to find another place where we can direct our own choir and have so much leeway to do the music we like. But I think my husband won't miss the warm weather, and neither of us will miss the traffic and the roads that so badly need repair.

08 May 2009


...and if J.J. Abrams made a series with this cast, with this close feel to the Original Series, I would be a very happy bunny.

But the timeline stuff is threatening to make my head explode.