This week in Andalusada: 9/29/2012

It's been an incredibly bad day for me in a lot of respects, but at least I can save the work on this a bit: not only have I been awesomely productive with it, but I've also Pretty much immediately after I was done posting the last weekly review on Saturday, I started writing for this week, which is unusual - usually I try to take at least one day off.
  • The first post was for Oskar Sansinger. I don't know much about him, but I do know his name; it's enough to start writing with.
  • The second, also on Saturday, was the first post on the Scrapbook to have no tags at all: "Best Practices: tagging and titling." It's more of a note to myself (and an introduction to the insane mess of labels over there), setting some guidelines down for better writing in the future.
  • Because I'd been furiously editing everything related to the House of Sansinger on Monday, and because the details of the war were scattered throughout several pages, I created a master page for the Axamallan Revolt that evening.
  • After a discussion with Rob (in which he mentioned the role of the nebulous "Grand Princess [who?]"), I wrote a biography for her, settling on a name for the lady: Grand Princess Teresa.
  • And because it was one of the few names that I'm aware of, and I'd mentioned the Cordoveros before, I wrote up a stubby biography for Don Musa as well, raising the population of named Andalusians to three.
  • I skipped out on a social event Wednesday. Instead, I wrote some of the details into Teresa Maria's life, and in particular into one specific part of her life: the Christianization of Mexico.
  • The last post this week was on Thursday, when (in keeping with other things) I posted the Greater Japanese Empire, allowing me to hyperlink everything else to it.
That's what I have to show for my week, and if that was all I did it'd be enough. It wasn't.

More below the cut:


Dinner, 9/27/2012

I lied. My hair wasn't remotely cut, the way I said that it was on the phone. And when I went to get it cut, the first thing I did was to drive home to see if I'd just left my debit card there or bothered to lose it properly. (I'd just left it there.)

I pulled $60 out of the bank today. $20 went straight into the gas tank, $16 went into the haircut, and the rest went into a vegetable platter, a large lemon, and $8.99 worth of fiery chrysanthemums. And then it was off to the party.

Orders were very strict: I was to be there no later than 5:15 if I wanted to remain in good standing. I was fifteen minutes late. The traffic across the bridge to Northampton was awful, stop and go every minute of the way.

Dinner was superb. Crudités, a quiche and a half, a bottle of champagne, caviar (which was meh), a random scattering of pastries for dessert... the single richest meal that I've had in months.

And then, driving home, there was "Gangnam Style" on the radio. I nearly drove off the road.


The logic of Andalusada and GURPS

On Monday, I started writing about the reasoning that guides and shapes the formation of the Andalusada universe. Last night, the first identifiable force in Andalusada was sloth. Tonight, it's something that I've touched on before but never seriously discussed: GURPS.


The logic of Andalusada and sloth

It's been a long time since I did anything that merited the tag "regular writing." The most I can say is that I've reliably posted weeks in review for Andalusada consistently - that I've been writing on the Scrapbook rather regularly indeed.

I mentioned that I started a standardization campaign on Friday. It's sent me looking back over dozens of former pages, editing them to fit my new standard policies - and rereading them, because I usually haven't thought about any of them except to look them up for links. And it's left me wincing a lot, because of how awful my writing can get over there. And how inconsistent.

There's one thing about it that's managed to routinely get my attention, though: the times when I stop to explain why I wrote Andalusada the way I did on that point. Those side notes are fascinating to me. And since this is (alas) a vanity blog, and Andalusada is what I'm thinking about at present - and since a lot of those notes are going to get obliterated in the great reformatting to come - I'm going to start discussing the overarching forces that have shaped my work as a Demiurge.

The first of these forces, and it's a shameful one to admit, is sloth.


In which I talk about a papyrus fragment

The stores sell caramel apples and fresh cider, and there are racks of pumpkins outside the doors. The nights are colder now, and the blue hour comes too early. Autumn is upon us.

And instead of honoring that, I'm going to talk about a papyrus fragment, the details of which are found over here.

My first response was the one I posted on Slacktivist:
There's a strong tendency on the part of many scholars to err uncritically on the side of the exotic and non-traditional: the same person who takes the standard gospels as unreliable in their depiction of Jesus will then treat a text written centuries later, which makes outlandish claims attested to nowhere else, certainly no text written when there were still living witnesses to Jesus's life, as if it were very good evidence!
YES. THIS THIS THIS. Thank you so much for saying that. 
On a broader scale, my biggest issue with this whole topic is the horrible looming sense that there isn't going to be ANY intelligent, rational discussion about if and how this papyrus fragment means or matters: that people will, for personal psychological reasons, arbitrarily and dogmatically declare "Jesus was/wasn't married!"
Because as a relatively studied Christian (and usually the one who has to represent Christianity in my completely unchurched social circles), I waste enough time as it is dealing with the Rapture and Dan Brown. And maybe it's because I'm short of sleep, but I have no hope that popular culture won't make a mess with this, and I am tired of endless remedial cleanup.
 My expanded thoughts are as follows, below the cut.


This week in Andalusada blogging: 9/22/2012

No blogging happened for me until late on Wednesday night, when (powered by Concerta) I decided to forcibly reset my sleep schedule. There, in the twilight of it, the writing started:
  • The first thing I posted was "Very Poor Introductions," linking back to the very first post I ever began on this (back when it was Ixbiliada.) It connected a few dots for me - in particular, I invented Annemarie Sansinger on the spot, because there was no plausible Bonaparte left to write Bonapartism: a Very Poor Introduction any more.
  • Next up on the list, after some cleanup (about which more below), was a master page, keeping track of Andalusada's authors.
  • The UCNA, the nation that is Moorish civilization as of Andalusada's present day, is a successor state. The third post of the week was the placeholder for what it succeeded: Umayyad Seville. Writing that (especially answering why?) was both satisfying and very, very instructive: I'm gonna have to revisit all of this later.
  • And because I'd already introduced the "families" tag earlier, I decided to make "families" a bit more substantive by writing a substantive family to tag it with: the House of Umayya.
  • Due to a terrible accident, a truly terrible post from I think May (regarding Ibero-Romance languages or something) was completely erased and lost. I took the opportunity to edit it a fair bit, turning it into something specifically about Moorish (the rest of Iberia be damned; I'm not even sure that Castilian is spoken.)
  • And lastly, on Friday night, I finally posted an entirely place-holding page for the House of Sansinger, tying together a fair number of other assorted entries. I'm still editing it as of this posting.
If the writing was all I'd accomplished this week, that would've been enough. It wasn't.


Slacktivist says it like it is

It occurs to me that I've been essentially neglecting any writing about the Discourse of Decline recently - and just on time, Fred Clark (a smarter man than I) delivers:
Everybody knows that evangelical churches are more theologically conservative and orthodox. And everybody knows that mainline Protestant denominations are liberal and heterodox....

It goes something like this:
1: Find the most liberal theologians you can from mainline Protestant denominations — Tillich! Spong! — and then sketch caricatures of them that make them seem as outrageously liberal as possible.
2. Make these caricatures the avatars for mainline Protestant churches, always suggesting that they are typical, hugely popular and influential.
3. Cite this outrageous theological liberalism as the cause of mainline “decline.”
4. Contrast this mainline liberalism with the orthodoxy of evangelical churches.
5. Cite evangelical orthodoxy as the cause of the rapid growth of evangelicalism.
6. Lather, rinse, repeat. For years and years and years.
This is propaganda. It’s the shell-game that we evangelicals have been playing for decades now. And it’s a shifty, dishonest trick.
Fred, you nailed it.

A non-owner's taste in gun porn


I haven't been there for awhile, though, and last night saw me glutting through its archives. Six or seven pages back, I stumbled across this:
I also have a real interest in guns with interesting histories. Guns with a long series of modifications, or pieces that were used by 2 or 3 or 4 or more different countries before finally finding their way to the US....
I could go on – K98k Mausers and MG42s taken from Nazi stockpiles and used by the fledgling Israeli state, Gewehr 88s used in WWI by Germany and then given to Turkey, updated to use spitzer ammo, and then reworked to look like Mausers... Vetterli rifles updated every time a European war looked imminent... They may not appeal to a lot of people, but to me those are the really interesting pieces. “If this rifle could talk…I’d need to learn three new languages to understand its story.”
What do you think? What do you find appealing in a prospective gun purchase?
And so, having neglected blogging for a few days, I thought I'd write about it here.


This fortnight in Andalusada: 9/15/2012

It's been two weeks since the last time I blogged about Andalusada. I have an excuse: last week I was driving into (and then driving home from) Pennsylvania, suffering a cold, and generally not writing about Andalusada very much anyways.

So it's been another fortnightly update here, and a very Russian one at that.
  • September 6th saw the first post, "Christianities of Andalusada." I'll spare you the list of what it's about, because it was mostly about lists. (See for yourself.)
  • September 6th also saw a post on the Eugenian calendar, because it was relevant to the writing about Great Russia and stuff that was going on in my head at the time.
  • Seeing that I'd mentioned him many times, and that he's a pivotal figure in Russian history, and that I'd been writing about his calendar so much, I created a placeholder for Evgeny I yesterday...
  • ...and today saw me start a new taxonomy, of the collapse and schism of Russian Orthodoxy.


The drive home on Sunday

Driving this weekend was uniformly awful. I got lost twice in two days; I burned an enormous amount of gas; there was no un-Christian radio for an enormous swathe of the travel time, so no consolation from the disappointment of the worship that day. Worst of all was the visibility - there was none. The rain came pissing down, so hard that I had to turn the wipers on full-speed to see the tail lights of the 18-wheelers not a dozen yards in front of me, so hard that I had to dime the volume to tell the radio static apart from the downpour outside.

All of that was worth the beauty of the last 90 minutes or so of the ride home.

Bad by dawn II

Apparently there's a timer with sleeping pills. When you take one, a one-hour countdown starts ticking, during which time you're supposed to actively try to fall asleep. And if you don't try, after that countdown ends a much shorter one starts before you start dreaming while you're awake. Before the hallucinations come.

Wednesday morning, B. didn't realize that and took his sleeping pills. And once again, at 2:50 in the morning, I stepped out of the room to discover that not only were the lights on, but the main room was smoky.

Latin Mass with Granny

Sunday was spent in Pennsylvania with my 96-year-old grandmother. She's feeling her age now, and relying on a walker to get around; going to church is a challenge she doesn't feel up to.

As such, for the first time in my life with Grandma, we didn't spend Sunday morning going to church. We spent Sunday morning watching church on TV. It was the first time I've ever done that before - and, also, the first time that I've ever seen a Catholic service using Latin before.


In which I am a glorified chauffeur

Before I headed home to sleep last night, I settled down in this very computer bay to have some nice quiet time alone. Then, at ten minutes to ten, the phone call came.

It was from B.: "I need you to come over and take me by Jimmie's place. It's an emergency."

I told him the truth: "I'm parked away from the car. I'll be there in half an hour." And dragging my body out of the seat, I started the long trudge back to the center of town.


Bad by dawn

My sleep became erratic this week, after a month of stability. And I knew I had my one scheduled early appointment of the week the next morning. So last night, at 10:30, I sped home.

I wound down and shut down by midnight for an 8:00 wakeup, and... sorta... slept. That's been a problem for a few nights, these experiences of not being sure whether you're starting to fall asleep or wake up at ungodly hours of the morning. ("Ungodly hours" is a really nice concept I've introduced Bennie to, that nobody cares what hours you normally keep, there's a point beyond which you simply do not give anybody a phone call unless the situation is absolutely critical.)

One of those ungodly hours was at 3:00 this morning, or thereabouts, when I woke up and decided to do what I sometimes am able to do: deal with annoying external stimuli. Namely the lights on and the TV yapping in the other room.

That was the least of my problems: the room was half-full of faint white smoke that made the air translucent. And both B. and M. were lying back, mouths open, snoring as if nothing was wrong. On the stove was the root problem: a pan sitting on the burner turned to high, with the faint sizzle of what looked like a fist-sized lump of coal smoldering into the air.

I turned it off, pulled it off the stove, and woke Bennie to see if he was all right. (He was. Apparently I'm not the only one having sleep issues in the house, though; he was tired enough to try to cook himself some hamburger to eat before he conked out and left it to burn.) In the morning, he thanked me for basically singlehandedly saving the house.

And so, with a serious crisis averted, I went back to my room, lay down in the dark, and appreciated that it's really hard to fall asleep when your heart is pounding like a racehorse's and the adrenaline is flowing free.

I was fifteen minutes late to the appointment this morning.


Memorizing 1 John: six weeks later

This was where it started:
7/14/2012: ...picked out the Spiritual Disciplines Handbook from the library, again, and this time I set myself to one of them: a memorization of 1 John 3. One of my go-to Epistles of the NT, and it's... one of my go-to Epistles in general, like Psalm 103 and Psalm 19....

There are 24 verses in the chapter; one verse a day, and I'll be able to memorize it all by August 19.
Well, that didn't happen. I did, however, manage to memorize 1 John 3:1-24 by September 1, though. As of today, I've skipped back a bit to 1 John 1:1-3; my plan is to work my way through 1 John 1-2 and take it from there. Hopefully I should have the entire thing down by the end of the year.

In praise of John

First, an irrelevant update to the rest of this post: the Andalusada Scrapbook is currently hovering at 1999 posts right now. My little blog is growing up, and catching it at a moment like that feels like seeing your child take their first step, or getting the first printed copy of your own book.

And now, for the serious one: on today's "Smart people saying smart things," walden posted this:
It's interesting.  This part of the gospel of John is widely regarded as an interpolation and is not in the oldest of the versions to have come down to us.  So in all the scholarly editions, it's in fine print or is footnoted.
But it seems to me to be way more authentic and in keeping with the gospel than most of the rest of John -- which is filled with a lot of neo-platonism and philosophical claptrap.  Which seems more like Jesus of the synoptics -- the woman taken in adultery? or the long self-referential preaching prayer that takes up pretty much of three chapters of the last supper sequence?
I think that John mostly doesn't belong in the N.T., but that this story (based probably on an older oral tradition) does belong.
What exactly do you say to something like that? In my case, I said this:
Serious question here, walden: If we're setting the Synoptics as the litmus test of Jesus's biography, the Pericope's doubly problematic. It not only "isn't" in John (until it was), but it isn't in ANY Synoptic Gospel, and while there were several versions of the Jesus-forgives-a-sinning-woman story circulating that's no guarantee of accuracy.
So on what grounds could we now declare that the Pericope should be in the NT canon and John SHOULDN'T be? Because I don't see any good-faith way to argue that position without making glaringly bad assumptions, the first and worst being "There's nothing wrong with editing NT canon to make it sound more like what we think it should."
(I'd also argue that the Johannine tradition's theology is a really important feature and not a bug, but that's for later.)
 And since it is later, I may as well take the opportunity to get my thoughts down.


This week in Andalusada blogging: 9/1/2012

It's been a very Russian kind of week this week:
  • The first post this week was the B_Munro draft. I haven't touched the map of Andalusada since at least spring, when the UMass libraries were open 24/7 and I could stay on with their awesome big screens for as long as I wanted - but the writeup for that map is still floating around.
  • Last week's beverage was beer. This week's was tea and vodka, after some derpy thoughts from weeks and months before. (The question of what the Great Russian political parties are called is still kinda up in the air; I'm revisiting thoughts here as I go.)
  • Wherever there is a revolutionary Russia, there has to be a commissariat. Thursday saw me (very briefly) define Commissars, and explain (in very sketchy detail) what they do besides, you know, be Russian and wear a commissar's cap.
  • Because Great Russia's Commissariat is a liaison office between various brigades of the Russian Legions (or Guards?), the obvious next step was to do a writeup about them. It wasn't taken. The step that was taken was, instead, to write up Great Russia itself.
No significant editing was done this week, but I do have some forecasts for things that'll be upcoming in the next week or two:
  • The derp about the Eugenian Calendar is going to get fleshed out a bit, and possibly reverted back to actually being about Old Calendarism (with a new post to introduce the Eugenian Calendar itself. [ADDED! -9/23/2012]) This is in no small part because of the other questions I've had in the last day or so...
  • "What happens to the Russian Orthodox Church?" Under the tsardom of Tver, it's a strange beast: an Orthodox church that's not recognized or in communion with the rest of Orthodoxy. What happens to it under the Veche is really complicated; I have at least one post, and quite likely a series of posts, to write about the fallout of the fall of Evgeny the Old. Amongs these are:
    • What exactly is the state of Orthodoxy in Great Russia at the moment?
    • For the better part of 300 years, the Russian Orthodox Church didn't need to worry about its foreign ties; it was the single biggest Orthodox church on the planet. A lot of them backed the Tsarists, with all the consequences that entails - and now that their church has been, at the very least, wrested from them and reformed (if not completely disestablished), how is that Tsarist diaspora handling the breaking of its haughty power?
    • What hay does the Papal State make with all of this?
  • New World beer styles is still a work in progress. Last post was about the Ibero-Baltic styles; the next one is going to be, I hope, about the Northern (and very Brittanic) styles, to help fill it out.