What I Did On the Airplane

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Howdy, folks!  The Window Philosopher has returned, after two of the most amazing weeks of my life on an island in Greece with 90 other choir people.  I wish we all could have stayed longer.  I met so many awesome people, and then had to leave them.  So I miss Syros, but it’s kind of nice to be home.

It would be an injustice if I didn’t tell you, my dear readers, all about it.  But for now, I’m holding off while I consider making a video blog of the trip instead.  Well then why are you writing, Peuce?  WE WANNA HEAR ABOUT GREECE!  Yes, I know you do, but until that’s ready, I will give you something else I love doing: album reviews.

See, international travel means long plane rides, and long plane rides mean lots of time to listen to music.  I didn’t really expand my horizons with these, but I have expanded my knowledge of two of my most favoritest bands, Jars of Clay and Death Cab for Cutie.  So without further ado: Continue reading

To Infinity and Beyond (aka Greece)

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Having arrived back home on Tuesday, you’ll never guess where I am off to next: out of town again.  This time, however, my travels will take me a little further from home.  I am going to Greece, and I am extremely excited.

See, the choir I’m in was invited to the 10th annual Festival of the Aegean on the island of Syros.  It’s going to be a lot of singing, but there will be free time as well.  (There had better be; I’ll be in Greece for heaven’s sake.  I’m going sightseeing.)  And I’ll get to meet and sing under the direction of John Rutter, which is amazing, and tour Athens, which is also amazing, and speak the little Greek I’ve learned to other people, which will be terrifying.  In all, it’ll be a once in a lifetime trip.

Therefore, I am here to do four things today:

1) Ask for your prayers.  For safe travels especially, please do pray for my entire family if you would!  THANKS A MILLION.

2) Inform you that I may or may not have access to WiFi or enough time to blog while I’m gone.  So don’t worry.  If I”m silent, I didn’t die.  Hopefully.

3) Ask everyone reading this whether they think I should take lots of videos and then make a video blog of the trip when I get back.  I think it’s a cool idea, and a way to share the trip with you all, since I sadly am not clever enough to smuggle you onto the airplane.  So:

 

4) Wish you a happy Tau Day even though it was yesterday.  Tau = 2 Pi.  6.28.  Get it?  It’s like Pi Day, but with Tau.  I think Tau is cool, but unlike some people I do not think Tau should replace Pi.  It makes things slightly easier and more sensible when you’re dealing with radians and whatnot in trig, but Pi makes tons more sense in terms of basic geometry.  Sheesh.  Pi(r)^2 people.  It makes sense.  It’s possible for them BOTH to be useful in different situations.  They make a good team.

So to distance myself from these radicals, I am wishing you a happy Tau Day today rather than yesterday.  Also I didn’t have time to blog yesterday, but never mind that.

That is all.  Be doing wonderfully, please, all of you.  WOOHOO LET’S GO TO GREECE!

DFTBA.

5 (Quirky) Tidbits from an Expert

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Coming up on two years in a back brace to counter my scoliosis, I’ve begun to consider myself a little bit of an expert on the day-to-day realities of the matter.  So, once again in honor of National Scoliosis Awareness Month, I bring you today five interesting and/or quirky tidbits and facts on bracing from the top-secret inner sanctum of Bendy Spine People. Continue reading

Humor, Always

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Over the next few weeks, my family and I will be out of town visiting several different places, but I figured in between I could squeeze in a few more posts about NSAM and random stuff in general.  For example, this weekend I’ll be at the Immaculate Heart of Mary National Homeschool and Parent Conference.  Quite a long name.  Quite an awesome event, for homeschoolers and for Catholics especially, but it’s not exclusive to these two groups.  So if you happen to be in Fredericksburg, Virginia this weekend, for some reason, check it out.  Admission is free.  *thumbs up*

But yeah, so blogging stuff.  (Gosh, this WordPress spellchecker is ironic.  It thinks that the words “blog”, “blogging”, “WordPress”, and “internet” are all spelled incorrectly.  What in the world is up with that?)  It’s always good to be able to laugh at one’s self.  Right?  (Nearly) every situation is best met with a bit of levity.  Including scoliosis.  How could I not Google “scoliosis humor” to see what came up?

So today, I figured I’d share a few of my favorites.  Enjoy. Continue reading

Fathers, My Spine, and Why You Should Care

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I figured I had to write something today, since it’s Father’s Day!  At least in a whole lot of countries.  Really it’s Fathers’ Day, but it’s just soooo hard to put apostrophes in the right place isn’t it?

Well, I won’t get myself started.  Father, since I’m sure you’ll be reading this, do know that you are amazing.  Amazingly patient, amazingly intelligent, and amazingly caring.  And I’m glad you’re my father and chose to be so.  You follow Our Father, and that’s why you’re so good at it.  I just want to say, thanks.  Everybody, applaud for my father right now. *INSERT APPLAUSE HERE*  And now I’ll applaud for yours.  *applauds*  Seriously, I did.  If there was anyone else in the basement, they would have looked at me funny and everything.

So earlier in the week I discovered something that takes place during the month of June and again, geez Louise, WHY DOES NO ONE TELL ME ABOUT THESE THINGS?  Anyway, I would like to point out that it is

National Scoliosis Awareness Month.

And here is why you should care.  First of all,  scoliosis is a condition where a person’s spine is curved from side to side.   Depending on how much it does so, it can cause pain, shortness of breath, and to an extent, limit mobility.  If it gets too serious, it can require surgery to correct it.  Why should you care?  Well, for the same reason people care about any medical condition: because people have it and it matters to them.

For example, I have scoliosis.  I try not to talk about it, because I don’t really want to think of myself as a sick person, but I do.  I wear a back brace to try and contain and partially reverse it, since I’m not done growing yet.  And yeah, it does hurt sometimes, but I’m doing fine.

I’m not saying that you should care any more than you care about cancer or muscular dystrophy, but all of these and more are things that many patients and families have to deal with.  And I know it’s hard to empathize when you aren’t the one with scoliosis, but I figure since it’s National Scoliosis Awareness Month, I should tell people “Hey, here’s what this is.”  That way people know, and care, and the next time I tell someone I have scoliosis, they won’t say “Oh, what’s that?  It sounds painful.”

So do pray for all patients struggling with any disease or condition, and especially those who are dealing with corrective surgery for scoliosis.  And remember, they’re normal people, not just bendy spine freaks.  I promise I will write some more posts about scoliosis this month, more upbeat ones.  I’ve got lots of ideas right now…

Happy Sunday, Happy Fathers’ Day, and a Healthy last half of NSAM.  And if anyone knows of a website that will tell me when things like Towel Day and NSAM and Tau Day are coming up pleasepleaseplease leave it in the comments.  DFTBA.

Should I Be Scared?

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Holy moly, everyone, it’s Friday the 13th.  For the superstitious-minded, that can only mean one thing: bad luck.  However, while I have before encountered unfortunate circumstances on this date, I can only attribute it to coincidence. (Even the time I got my nose bloodied by a six year old wielding a stick on Friday the 13th, but that’s another story…)  I can’t afford to be superstitious.  We have two black cats in our house.

In fact, Friday the 13th’s have come and gone without my noticing them.  But when I do notice the date approaching, I make note of it, at least in the same way I read my horoscope out of occasional curiosity.  I headed to Wikipedia today to do some quick research, and they have a fascinating article on the subject, including some theories on the origin of the superstition.  However, one of the main things I think is cool is the word friggatriskaidekaphobia, or fear of Friday the 13th.  This word is so awesome it must be used, even if it isn’t as long as pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis.

I also found it interesting that in Hispanic countries and in Greece, Tuesday the 13th is considered unlucky instead, and in Italian popular culture, it’s Friday the 17th.  But more importantly, here’s what I find ridiculous about the whole affair: according to a National Geographic article, it’s estimated that 800 to 900 million U.S. dollars is lost in business on Friday the 13th due to people not interacting and making transactions as they normally would.  That’s crazy.  That’s a ton of money.  Also, and we must be careful not to equate causation with correlation, but the Dutch Center for Insurance Statistics reported in 2008 that “fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are preventatively more careful or just stay home. Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th, at least in the Netherlands; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500.”  So really it’s not as unlucky as you might think.

And it would also do to point out that over each 400 year Gregorian cycle, the chances of the 13th being a Friday are higher than any other day of the week.  It’s not uncommon at all, really.  We just tend to notice it more.

So that’s all.  Just a little rant about the fixations of the friggatriskaidekaphobic.  It’s always interesting the things we as humans come up with, superstitions, etc.  Well, actually maybe it’s not surprising, but it is surprising that such superstitions pervade our society up to the present day.  Please, if you’re afraid of Friday the 13th, don’t be.  I promise you everything will go just fine.  And have this clip of Popeye the Sailor I thought of today.  Ah, old cartoons.  Bye for now.

The Spirit’s Laughter

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“Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is by far the best ending for one.”

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

Taken from my latest foray into classical literature, this quote caught my fancy the moment I saw it.  I can’t say whether I find that it’s true from experience.  However, I do think laughter is important to living, and all our best friendships will be full of it.  We instinctively like laughing.  We try to make other people laugh.  It makes us feel better.  It collapses social barriers and decorates our memories.  I don’t know how my friendships will end, but it would be great if they ended with laughter.

I got to thinking, and wondered whether there was some way to tie in laughing with Pentecost, which the Catholic Church celebrates today.  Is there a way to connect laughter with God’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the apostles in the Upper Room?

I think I can make this work.

When we laugh, we are, in a way, defenseless.  We’re honest.  We are moved to the action.  It’s like we’re opening up our spirit to the world.

The Holy Spirit moved the apostles to action when they were waiting apprehensively.  All of a sudden, they opened themselves to the world.  They left their sanctuary and proceeded to utterly flummox a whole lot of people, thanks to the Holy Spirit.

But, the Holy Spirit would not have been able to move them so if they hadn’t been open to God’s will.  God respects the free will he gifted us.

Sometimes, it’s not a good idea to laugh (for example, in the middle of a church service), but sometimes, the world gets in danger of being a dreadfully dour place.  If we have the opportunity, we should try to spread some joy to those around us.  If we can be open to these opportunities, then I believe we can make the world a better place, even if we do flummox some people.

I pray the the Holy Spirit will bless all of you, and hey, don’t forget to smile.

P.S. For your laughing (or groaning) pleasure, here’s a really corny joke I once heard:

Two muffins are sitting in an oven.  The first muffin says “Gee, don’t you think it’s hot in here?”  The other muffin replies, “Holy crap, it’s a talking muffin!”

Also, did you know you can’t explain metaphor to kleptomaniacs?  They take things literally.

Alright I’ll stop.