Posted in Life, Thoughts

Please Do Not

Have you ever been part of a conversation where a group of people are talking, and one person is part of the group but just listening, and someone abruptly turns to the listening person and says, “You’re very quiet”?

Speaking as someone who is regularly the quiet person in this scenario, please do not do this.

Look. First of all, I know I’m quiet. I’m often super aware. You don’t have to inform me.

Secondly, HOW ON EARTH DO YOU EXPECT ME TO RESPOND TO THIS? Really. I would like to know. Because other than an awkward, “Yeah, I guess,” I’ve never been able to come up with a response that’s not snarky and rude. Especially since I suddenly feel extremely uncomfortable, which makes it difficult to think.

Is that the goal? To make people uncomfortable? Because I don’t think it is. I think this is an attempt to make the quiet person feel noticed and included, which is a nice gesture, in theory.

BUT THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO IT.

Try asking them a question. Questions that require more than one-word answers are good if you want to make conversation. But really, you might even try just smiling at them. Or making sure to notice if they do talk. They’re more likely to appreciate attempts to make them feel comfortable enough to join the conversation than attempts to make them join the conversation.

Be more thoughtful and creative than, “You’re very quiet.”

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Posted in College, Life, Thoughts

Life is Strange

I have a very short post for you today because I just wanted to share a weeeeeeiiiiiiiiiiird realization I had over the weekend, and I haven’t gotten past the fact that it’s a thing enough to have further thoughts on the matter:

I have now been out of college longer than I was in college.

That is all.

Posted in Thoughts

On Book Adaptations

Percy Jackson and the Olympians is one of my favorite book series. It’s one of the few things I feel like rereading allllllllllllllllllllll the time. I am, in fact, currently rereading the first book, The Lightning Thief, because there is a new illustrated version and I couldn’t resist. (And I must say, the illustrations are some of the best I’ve ever seen for actually paying attention to the details in the text and using them. I am impressed.)

In this series, Greek mythology is around in modern times, and modern demigods have adventures and save the world and all that fun stuff. I enjoy it very much. (There’s a second series, The Heroes of Olympus, which is also excellent. Can’t recommend the ones that come after that.)

As often happens with books that become popular, they made a movie of The Lightning Thief. I have watched it. It’s not the best movie. And it’s generally agreed that it’s among the worst book adaptations ever. Not only were there a ton of changes to the story, it didn’t capture the spirit of the book at all. They tried again with the second book in the series, The Sea of Monsters, and it did a tiny bit better, but not enough to save the movie series.

But. A musical of The Lightning Thief was created recently.

I have not seen it, sadly. I want to. I really want to. But I’ve listened to the cast recording many times now.

It captures the spirit of the book amazingly. I appreciate it.

AND THE DETAILS.

They got many big things right, but they also went above and beyond that. Someone obviously wrote the song lyrics with the book in front of them. Some things I have noticed while reading this time that made it into the musical:

  • The book’s first line is, “Look. I didn’t want to be a half-blood,” and this is Percy’s first line in the musical.
  • Book: “Being a half-blood is dangerous. It’s scary. Most of the time, it gets you killed in painful, nasty ways.” Musical: “Being a half-blood, it’s scary, and mostly gets you killed in very nasty ways.”
  • “You got a problem with that?”
  • Book: “Like he’s ‘Big Three’ material,” Clarisse said as she pushed me toward one of the toilets. “Yeah, right. Minotaur probably fell over laughing, he was so stupid looking.” Musical: “Maybe the Minotaur died of a case of laughing too hard from seeing your stupid face.”
  • “Tough first day?”
  • Book: “Perseus Jackson,” Mrs. Dodds said, in an accent that was definitely from somewhere farther south than Georgia. Musical: Mrs. Dodds has an overdramatic southern accent, in a setting where most characters don’t.

One of my favorites that I already knew about is a line Percy says in the musical: “If I try to sing, it’ll probably cause an avalanche.” I first noticed the line because it’s fun and ironic because the actor’s voice is beautiful (see video below, which was my introduction to the fact that this musical existed). But then I discovered that Percy says this in the last book in the series.

The. Last. Book.

The people who adapted this story obviously knew it and loved it. This is how you adapt one form of art to another.

Posted in Christianity, Thoughts

“We’re Still Going to be Friends”

Once upon a time – maybe two years ago? – I was considering purchasing a new mp3 player because my music collection had outgrown my storage space. But my dad heard me talking about it, and he had some around he no longer used, so he donated one to the cause.

The one he gave me contained a bunch of lectures from Polishing the Pulpit, an annual lectureship originally aimed at preachers that has grown and extended to include everyone. When I put my own music on the mp3 player, I kept some of the lectures that sounded interesting, and occasionally when I have a long enough drive, I listen to one.

I’ve heard some excellent things. But I also listened to one a few months ago that’s been bothering me ever since.

It was about evangelism. I’ll be the first to admit this is not one of my strengths. I’m not too good at the whole talking to people in general thing, so…

The speaker said, in the context of a first Bible study after you’ve known someone a few weeks, “But remind them, ‘You may walk away from here, and you may never agree with me, but we’re still going to be friends.'”

Listen. If you’ve known me for a few weeks and you tell me, seriously, about ANYTHING, “If you don’t agree with me about this, we’ll still be friends,” you’ve lost any interest I had in the discussion. We are not friends. We’re barely acquaintances at that point. Unless we’ve been, like, stranded on a deserted island together and have confessed all our deepest darkest secrets, you don’t know me. You have no idea what makes me tick. I don’t know you. I don’t trust you. I don’t have any reason to expect you to remain any sort of important part of my life.

Maybe we have a pleasant slight acquaintanceship. Maybe we could become friends someday. But we are not friends.

Are there people in the world who would hear such a statement and take it seriously, find it reassuring? Am I the weird one? I know I have a much stricter definition of “friend” than most, but surely I can’t be the only one who would be turned off by this?

To a certain extent, it’s not bad advice. You shouldn’t stop being interested in and pleasant to a person because they disagree with you on religion. If you only get to know people so you can try to convert them and then you’re done with them once they’ve decided whether they agree with you or not, you’re treating them like projects, not people, and that’s a big problem.

But… Please don’t phrase it this way. Please don’t impose friendship that doesn’t actually exist. You may hurt your cause more than you help it.

Posted in Life, Thoughts

Happy Birthday, Tuesdaynews!

On Tuesday, August 16, 2011, I wrote my first blog post.

Seven years ago.

SEVEN YEARS.

Since then, I have blogged every Tuesday. (Nearly. There were a few weeks where I was away at church camp with no internet, and once I posted on Wednesday instead of Tuesday.) This is post 361. That’s a lot of writing. Somehow, I have thought of something to say every week.

Not always great things. Some of those posts aren’t good. But some of them are, if I do say so myself.

I don’t think I could have foreseen this. I wasn’t certain blogging would stick when I started. Apparently it did.

In celebration:

And I skimmed through the whole history of my blog. I did not read everything. But here are a few of my favorite posts from over the years, if you happen to be interested:

A Thanksgiving Sonnet

Breaking News – Finalscomeitis

The Alleviation of a Great Sorrow

We Change

How to Write a Blog Post

God and Your Personality

The Right Time to Grow

Who Can Stand When He Appears?

Posted in Life, Thoughts

Autograph Your Work With Excellence

Every job is a self-portrait of the person who did it. Autograph your work with excellence.

Google gave me several different answers about who said this quote, so I don’t know what to tell you about its origin. But anyway.

You know when I think about this quote the most? While shelving books at the library.

It’s not a particularly complicated job. But I try to do it exceptionally well.

Everyone at the library has their own sections they’re in charge of (it rotates periodically), and I make an effort to keep mine looking nice. I line the books up along the edge of the shelves. I put books out on display where there’s room. Sometimes I look over some of the books to make sure they’re still in order.

It’s a small thing. But people know I did it, if they care to look. And I find it satisfying just for myself.

Does anyone actually notice? I don’t know. But I notice. God notices. And you really never know what sort of impact small things make. And it’s an important habit to develop for more significant projects that are more noticeable.

Posted in Life, Thoughts

Muscle Memory

You know what amazes me sometimes?

Stairs.

Not the stairs themselves. The fact that I don’t have to think at all to navigate them. That my legs (usually) just know the proper amount to move up or down.

Muscle memory is incredible. It lets me type without constantly watching the keyboard. Swiftly open my water bottle. Play “The Rainbow Connection” tolerably even if I haven’t touched my piano in months. Drive. Write. Walk. Flip book pages. Speak. Etc.

The other day, I took a shower in the dark. Just to see if I could. And it was so much easier than expected. Only a couple times did I reach for something and find myself slightly off. I’m not exactly recommending this activity, especially if you have balance issues or if you’re somewhere unfamiliar, but it was interesting to discover how much my body just knew without the help of my eyes.

What if muscle memory didn’t exist? What if every moment felt like the times you stumble through some new activity, awkward and clumsy? How miserable would that be?

What an amazing system God designed.