French Toast Girl has the most beautiful blog I've ever seen.


Click here for a blog of note.


This really works!
The writer is not exaggerating. This is the closest thing to magic I have ever conjured up.



What a lovely Saturday today has been so far. This morning, a friend unexpectedly stopped by for a cup of coffee. Then I walked to the city center to run some errands and get a haircut and some groceries. The weather is fine (16C/61F - how symmetrical!) and it seems that everybody in the city is outdoors enjoying it. I ran into several folks that I know in town, in spite of the fact that more than 180,000 people live in this city. These past five years, I have experienced anew that cities don't have to be places of anonymity: there is community here. Days like today make it difficult to leave the Netherlands. I am rooted here. I know people and they know me. Even so, the process of uprooting has already begun: one box of books has already arrived in the US ahead of me, six more are on their way, and I'm looking into tickets back (I may be traveling by boat!). I have two and half more months of Dutch life ahead of me. I plan to enjoy every moment -- well, maybe not every moment, considering the hours of writing left to be done on my thesis. But I'll do my best.

Oh, in case anyone doesn't know: I'm going to be moving to Atlanta in August to study here within this department. Even in the midst of feeling wistful about leaving the NL, I am looking forward to settling in there.

P.S. The title for this blog post was inspired by/stolen from these folks.

P.P.S. Photo Credit: Ryan Miller of Mennonite Mission Network.


Fresh Readings

David Plotz is blogging the Bible. The whos, whys, and whats can be read here. Props to Brent for sending me the link.


London 12/12

Each friend represents a world in us,
a world possibly not born until they arrive,
and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.
- Anais Nin

I have blogged about Ancient Near Eastern tablets, flights over the Thames, movies, books and games. But for me, the best part of being in London one month ago was the renewing of friendships (not to mention meeting a few great new people too). In the end, that is what made my vacation a vacation. That is what infused me with energy upon my return, and inspired this series of 12 posts, which is now, finally, complete.


London 11/12

Well, the penultimate London tidbit to share with you all is my discovery of this London shop, which may perhaps be my favorite place to shop for clothes on earth! (I'm speaking of the shop on Oxford Street, specifically.) There, I indulged in the tunic pictured above. Here in the Netherlands, I like to shop here for clothes and here for everything else.

Where oh where will I shop when I move back to US in just a few months?!? I must focus on the positive: the US beats Europe hands-down when it comes to affordable second-hand stores. So: I will shop at Goodwill. Yes!


London 10/12

In a few short years, I am hopefully going to be able to read tablets like this.


London 9/12

More breath-taking artifacts from the British Museum:

Ancient Philistine pottery.

Looks nearly as fun as War on Terror!


London 8/12

Some board games are more dangerous than others. If you dare play War on Terror, you may end up with Evil plastered all over your forehead. In London, some friends and I spent several hours one Sunday figuring this game out. If I gave board games stars, I would give this one 3 out of 4. Recommended as an entertaining way to get educated about the crazy turn our world has taken. Apparently, WoT's creators, who are peaceniks from Cambridge, have been banned from some game conventions because of the controversy surrounding WoT. Read The Guardian's coverage of the game here.
Bibliographic Interruption

Please excuse this interruption of the 12-part London series.
I just want to point out my nifty new search widget entitled 'on my bookshelf ' (scroll down, on the right).

Go ahead, search my library. You know you want to!


London 7/12

I bought two books while in London, received one as a gift and borrowed another.

The first book I bought from Metanoia Books, the book shop affiliated with the London Mennonite Centre, where I was staying: and that book is The Human Being by Walter Wink. The human being Wink writes about is none other than Jesus. This promises to be a provocative book which builds on Wink's Powers Trilogy but ventures beyond what some would consider acceptable Christology. I've only read one chapter, but am already intrigued. As soon as I finish (and the title of the book subsequently appears on one of my new sidebars!), I'll let you know what I think.

The second book I bought for a fiver at a second-hand book market near the Thames: and that book is The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant, the Unbeliever by Stephen Donaldson. It's actually a compendium containing the first three books of a 10 book series (only 7 of which are currently published). My friend Vic recommended this series to me as some of his favorite books of all time, so I couldn't help but snap this volume up when I discovered it at the market.

The third book Vic gave to me. It is one of his own: Sign of the Manipogo. (It's also available on amazon here.) Vic has written two novels, the second of which is as of yet unpublished. I very much look forward to reading them both!

A book which I borrowed from my hosts and read in its entirety was Short Cuts, a collection of short stories upon which the identically titled movie is based, which I blogged about earlier. I recommend the collection of stories just as highly as the film. Raymond Carver exudes brilliance.