Fourth Sunday in Lent

Father, hear the prayer we offer:
Not for ease that prayer shall be,
But for strength that we may ever
Live our lives courageously.

Not for ever in green pastures
Do we ask our way to be;
But the steep and rugged pathway
May we tread rejoicingly.

Not for ever by still waters
Would we idly rest and stay;
But would smith the living fountains
From the rocks along our way.

Be our strength in hours of weakness,
In our wanderings be our guide;
Through endeavour, failure, danger,
Father, be thou at our side.

A bit o' Bosch: St. John the Evangelist on Patmos

Aside from the little demon in the bottom-left corner, this is definitely one of the less-weird Bosch paintings. You have a burning shipwreck way back to the left of the mountain, and some tiny dudes in boats and such (worth clicking through for the high-def verison), but the perspective is very nearly "correct", and the overall aesthetic is just ... pleasant. No funky birdnests, no giants tromping across the landscape, just a cool cathedral-ish building off in the distances and a fairly sedate vision of Madonna and Child.

Doesn't make me want to crawl inside and explore, like some of his works, but it's definitely a favorite.

my darling

poem: That Still Centre

- Dorothy Sayers, as found in the novel Gaudy Night

Here, then, at home, by no more storms distrest,
Folding laborious hands we sit, wings furled;
Here in close perfume lies the rose-leaf curled,
Here the sun stands and knows not east nor west,
Here no tide runs; we have come, last and best,
From the wide zone through dizzying circles hurled,
To that still centre where the spinning world
Sleeps on its axis, to the heart of rest.

Lay on thy whips, O Love, that we upright,
Poised on the perilous point, in no lax bed
May sleep, as tension at the verberant core
Of music sleeps; for, if thou spare to smite,
Staggering, we stoop, stooping, fall dumb and dead,
And, dying, so, sleep our sweet sleep no more.

Third Sunday in Lent

Who would true Valour see
Let him come hither;
One here will Constant be,
Come Wind, come Weather.
There's no Discouragement,
Shall make him once Relent,
His first avow'd Intent,
To be a Pilgrim.

Who so beset him round,
With dismal Storys,
Do but themselves Confound;
His Strength the more is.
No Lyon can him fright,
He'l with a Gyant Fight,
But he will have a right,
To be a Pilgrim.

Hobgoblin, nor foul Fiend,
Can daunt his Spirit:
He knows, he at the end,
Shall Life Inherit.
Then Fancies fly away,
He'l fear not what men say,
He'l labour Night and Day,
To be a Pilgrim.

- John Bunyan

A bit o' Bosch: St. John the Baptist in the Desert

This is another one that's definitely worth clicking through to see the massively high-def version--there's the bear shaking a tree for honey in the background, and a monkey (?) climbing the weird tree in the upper right corner--not to mention the bizarre rock formation in the upper left corner, with a tiny dude looking out over the edge of one of the weird cliffs. It's a very peaceful scene--definitely one of my favorites. You still have the wacky perspective going on--St. John appears to be as tall as some of the trees, and unlike St. Christopher, I'm pretty sure him being a giant isn't part of any church tradition. Not to mention the representative lamb in the bottom right corner has the most knowing look I've ever seen on probably any animal.

Also, the colors in this one are just plan lovely--there's a vibrancy to it that draws the eye and holds it.



So, blogging hasn't been happening much recently. It's probably due to my weekly schedule:

M - reading plays/poetry with friends
Tu - play Stardew Valley with a subset of those friends
Th - movie night with a different group of friends
F - family pizza night / FPS fun with second group of friends (if family leaves before 8:30 PM, which has been happening less and less frequently)
Sa - leadership meeting for gaming org / virtual flight night with same group

Wednesday and Sunday usually wind up being sort of mental catch-up nights--not quite enough for me to catch my breath, just enough for me to think about all the projects I'd like to be working on but aren't because I like having friends and spending time with them. I spent so many years existing in a sort of low-level persistent state of loneliness, it's almost impossible to even consider dropping any of these from my weekly schedule.

Can I just run away to a non-internet accessible cabin in the woods somewhere? Just to unplug for a little while.

Second Sunday in Lent

Broad is the road that leads to death
And thousands walk together there;
But wisdom shows a narrow path
With here and there a traveler.

“Deny thyself, and take thy cross,”
Is the Redeemer’s great command;
Nature must count her gold but dross
If she would gain this heav’nly land.

[The fearful soul that tires and faints
And walks the ways of God no more
Is but esteemed 'almost a saint',
And makes his own destruction sure.]

Lord, let not all my hopes be vain:
Create my heart entirely nеw;
Which hypocrites could ne’er attain
And falsе apostates never knew.


i just want to grow things for a while

So, after finishing a long-overdue and frequently interrupted project at work, I took today off. And even though I'd intended to do some actual stuff, I wound up spending pretty much the entire day just growing digital plants and rearranging digital furniture. Here's my ~20th iteration of the two rooms you have to play with in the awkwardly-titled Plant Daddy:

The gameplay loop is pretty basic: buy randomly-generated plants, stick them in the appropriate lighting so they'll grow, water, and collect the subsequent leaves & flowers to "buy" more plants--and furniture to put them on. If you open the apartment windows, you'll be treated to a very soothing mix of summer sounds, complete with a periodic rain storm. The whole thing is just ... satisfying, as my accidental 8 hours spent playing it can attest. :P

I only wish there were a bedroom and kitchen to decorate/fill with plants as well....

Bit o' Bosch: Saint Christopher Carrying the Christ Child

The problem with trying to talk about anything by Bosch is that I almost inevitably get distracted by each individual detail that it's hard to see the picture as a whole. Stuff like St. Christopher's anti-gravitational cloak, or the tiny dude climbing up into a pot balanced on the tip of a tree branch. The fish that's as big as a woman--or is the woman as small as the fish? Are St. Christopher and the Christ Child giants, or surrounded by pygmies? Maybe there's some sort of "seven-league-boots" deal going on.

What's really fun is clicking on through to the ginormous scan over on Wikipedia--and while I have many unfriendly thoughts about Google in general, I do greatly appreciate their graphics-card-meltingly high quality scans of various masterpieces, including a number by Bosch, because it lets you really appreciate some of the insane details in the background, like the naked dude running around in a field while a dragon crawls around in an abandoned castle. Also, that the tiny climbing dude has left his transparent shirt hung up to dry next to a hunk of meat stuck on a branch.

I want to climb inside this picture and just ... explore.