Spring Cleaning Links

My Penitential Friday so far has been clearly non-penitential.

After getting some work done I headed over to The Galley for a Seafood Platter because… well it’s Carnival Season. And that’s a good enough reason, isn’t it? Isn’t it? It is.
seafood from cajun foodie's site
I’m glad we cleared this up.

Schemas and Plans through Prayer and Cleaning

My scheme is to do a lot of walking during Carnival Season, so I need to be well fortified. I was going to pass completely on having anything to do with Mardi Gras, but I noticed I’ve been setting aside walking shoes, stocking up on water, sunscreen, etc.

Anyway.

I have this habit of saving every web page which looks remotely interesting in my bookmarks/favorites folder/bar and then rarely going back to them until I eventually just wipe them all out and start over again.

In a stroke of genius I said, ‘Well let me just clear them out here, and then I’ll be able to navigate to them whenever I want to.’ I’ll can create a special bookmarks category, and it will be easy as pie. (Pie? Mmmmmmm…)

And this is clearly a penitential act as I’d much rather be outside cycling. But this penitential act will helps other, I know. Thousands will gaze upon it and find interesting links, and my time will have been well worth it. Indeed. It’s a schema, a plan.

So, here we go.

Part One

I’m Just Walkin’. I followed this guy’s walking trek across the USA. It was intruiging.

He's Just Walkin'
He's Just Walkin'

Next up… Er. OK, well not every bookmarked site needs to go here. Some just need to be discarded. Moving along…
shortarm guy's site

The Short Arm Guy is definitely worth a looksee sometime. I think the theme here is that I’m fascinated by unusual people, since I am fairly unique myself.

Diet and Exercise Alert! Beach Bod Plan. Yes, that’s going really well. Yep.

Elizabeth’s Rome. While I have no desire to go to Rome any time soon, Elizabeth here blogs about the best places to go while you are there based upon her personal experience. It’s there so that when I go back to Paris I can find a similar site to peruse, if I even would have remembered to look at Elizabeth’s site again in the first place. Useless.

Some Photography…

Photo du Jour, over at the PBase site is however quite useful. My camera is a Canon EOS 5d mark ii, and I love looking through the shots over there, which you are able to peruse by camera model. The 5d shots sold me. That and Martha Stewart has the same camera so I figured it had to be a good thing.

northern nights
Paul Lantz is also the proud owner of a 5d markii, and blogs occasionally with his photos. (His are much better than mine.)

Canon Field Reviews was a remarkable photography site by a user of Canon equipment, who got a better deal and now blogs for Nikon using the D3S. I love my Canon, but if I had an unlimited budget, one of the cameras I would be highly interested in would be the D3S. A good example of it everyday use can be seen over at The Pioneer Woman. Still, Martha has a Canon, and I am loving it too. I think it ultimately has more to do with the subject matter, the eye behind the camera, and photoshop.

And isn’t this beautiful? It was taken with a 5dmarkii.

icy
Gorgeous Photos.

Whew! This is exhausting and tedious work. I need some water.
screenshot
This is going to have to all be categorized later, which will be a whole new brand of penance. But none of this is really penance it’s actually just homework. So I should stop whining and get back to it.

The Spirit of the Forest is alive and well in more beautiful photos.

Venice
Startlingly Clear Photos taken with a Nikon D3X. the PBase site is remarkable, but you cannot link to the images. You can, however, take screenshots to encourage visitors (and actually if you cannot, I’ll gladly take the screenshot down.)

Moving on to Food…

The Perfect Party Cake. I had read this sometime ago and for whatever reason thought it’d be good to make for a staff thing at some point. I have yet to try it.

That link led me over to Tuesday’s with Dorie, which is yet another reason I need to be walking around more. But the link explains all about the perfect party cake.

And if you’ve never seen an amazingly beautiful carved watermelon, head over to SmugMug’s Food Central and see the beautiful one there. watermelon

Home Improvements

On quite a different note, Armor Proxy appears to be the place for restoring or painting concrete surfaces. I’m on a mission to try it out somewhere soon. And that’s actually a link I’ll be keeping handy.

Here is Armor Proxy’s Concrete Color Chart. Get ready to do some major drooling.
garage floor

Wouldn’t you just love for your garage floor to be this awesome?

Everything you Need to Know to solve your concrete dilemmas.

And as if all of that wasn’t enough, you must check out their Extreme Duty line.

It is awesome looking stuff. You could paint masonry graves with it. Patios, carports, porches. Maybe summertime should be the summertime of armorproxying dangerously. I think it might end up very nicely.

In a major shift of focus, we have here an Essay on Islam. I enjoy reading online essays, but this one is on the tedious side, and I have not been able to make headway with it, which is why I saved it. I’m somehow convinced I want to read it. But not really. Nonetheless, there it is

Houses in Films

However, Hooked on Houses is an icon of pop culture. It’s filled with famous houses from movies and TV. If you like films, head on over sometime.

The Houseboat from Sleepless in Seattle is (or was?) on the market for a cool $2.5 Million. Its the largest home on Lake Union.

Silver Screen Surroundings is another site devoted to movie locales.

rouge et vert
Decorating in Red and Green is a post which brought me to looking at the aforementioned movie locale sites. Pointing out the psychology in decorating for movie homes, it analyzes the house in “Home Alone”, and points out that almost everything in it is decorated in Red and Green. Fascinating. And yet, who knew?

Another Miscellany Phase

What’s not to like about Ben Casnocha? He’s probably already in your bookmarks somewhere.

A little something all about Gluten free Donuts. Hmmm, could be good for the money counters on Monday AM’s.

Though in retrospect, they might readily prefer Martha Stewart’s Moist and Boozy Fruitcake.

On the techno front, Aladdin Lighting Companyis offering LED bulbs to free ourselves forever of those pesky flourescents. I think. That’s one of those links which will be right up there next to Armor Proxy.

Christopher is a wonderful Catholic Blogger, and his link is headed for my blogroll which I will be redoing very soon. Highly recommended.

This is so goofy. It’s called Martha Stewart Pot. It’s kinda dumb.

Drafthorse Big and Tall Clothing. Big and Tall Clothing, at 6’6″, is always bookmarked.

Charming Catholic Homeschooling site.

A discount dinnerware site. Don’t ask me why, I don’t really know. But it was interesting at the time.

Music for Organ, Manuals Only. I admit it. I’m out of practice and have been working relatively pedal-less for months now! I’m seeking a therapist so I can be more open about it.

Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli is the proprietress of my favorite cooking show. I bookmarked her fan page on Facebook so that I can add it when Facebook stops being ridiculous and lets me add more pages. I really don’t add a lot, but a lot of people have added me to groups and such and it’s a confused mess I am still trying to figure out. In the meantime though, so many great people I’ve met through there. Still, I do have to ‘Add’ a ‘Like’ to this fan page at some point.

Nearing the End

This is someone’s Post your favorite Artwork blog. I was having an El Greco kind of day, and stumbled upon it and thought it interesting. I subsequently was not very interested in it at all, but it had evidently already been bookmarked.

Ta Dah! El Greco.
el greco's christ
The Bell of the Wanderer is a neat little weblog I’d like to read again. Clean style, artful presentation, thoughtful posts. Worlds better than mine here.

And Table Etiquette and Gluttony has readings from Wisdom helping to enlighten our minds and our waists. It’s thoughtfully done, and the readings are wonderful.

Strange, Bizarre, Thoughtful, Freaky, immediately caught my eye and my new best of buds. Whoever it is.

I want to use all of the artwork from this site, and find out a bit more about the Mennonites. They were all over Bolivia the times I visited.

And that about wraps it up for my Bookmarks Folder. I can clean it out and sleep well tonight. Maybe tomorrow I can get to the Bookmarks Bar, which seems to have just about as many.

Sigh.

I hope that all of you have some amazing bookmarks, and that you’re more organized than me about the whole issue.

Still, it’s done, and I am off for a robust walk.

beheading of james

Wisdom, Growing in purity of Heart

Sometimes I get lost in The Office of Reading, Morning Prayer and the Mass Readings. Sometimes I have the time to be contemplative.

Today wasn’t one of those days. But all of these jumped out at me, and I ended up jotting them down here.

They speak so beautifully to the heart when we try to grow in wisdom, and in grace.

wisdom of solomon
None of us are perfect; and life is complex and at times tragic. That’s where wisdom can be found at times. Acknowledging the struggles in life, and developing authentic character, tried in the forges of life trials.

These verses speak for themselves, and point us towards the path of righteousness, humility and holiness:

“A good name is better than good ointment, and the day of death than the day of birth. … For that is the end of every man, and the living should take it to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because when the face is sad, the heart grows wiser. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.” Eccliesiastes, 6:13-14.

“Do not in spirit become quickly discontented, for discontent lodges in the heart of a fool.”

‘For the protection of wisdom is as the protection of money; and the advantage of knowledge is that wisdom preserves the life of its owner.”

“Do not give heed to every word that is spoken lest you hear your servant speak ill of you, for you know in your heart that you have many times spoken ill of others.”

“What exists is far reaching; it is deep, very deep: who can find it out? I turned my thoughts toward knowledge; I sought and pursued wisdom and reason, and I recognized that wickedness is foolishness and folly is madness.”

From the responsory: “Who can say: My heart is pure; I am not a sinner? There is no living man so holy who does good and never sins. If we claim to be sinless we deceive ourselves; but if we acknowledge our sins, then God who is faithful and just will forgive us.”
St. Columban
From an instruction by Saint Columban, abbot: “Seek then the highest wisdom, not by arguments in words but by the perfection of your life, not by speech but by faith that comes from simplicity of heart, not from the learned speculations of the unrighteous.

If you search by means of discussions for the God who cannot be defined by words, he will depart further from you than he was before. If you search for him by faith, wisdom will stand where wisdom lives, at the gates. Where wisdom is, wisdom will be seen, at least in part. But wisdom is also to some extent truly attained when the invisible God is the object of faith, in a way beyond our understanding, for we must believe in God, invisible as he is, though he is partially seen by a heart that is pure.”

From the readings for Mass:

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.

El Greco, the Baptism of the Lord

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea.
If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off.
It is better for you to enter into life maimed
than with two hands to go into Gehenna,
into the unquenchable fire.

And if your foot causes you to sin, cut if off.
It is better for you to enter into life crippled
than with two feet to be thrown into Gehenna.
And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.

Better for you to enter into the Kingdom of God with one eye
than with two eyes to be thrown into Gehenna,
where their worm does not die, and the fire is not quenched.

Lord Jesus, help me to overcome sin in my life. Help me to overcome weakness, and to strive for the perfection of my life with your grace. Amen.

Thoughts On the Feast of Polycarp

I was pondering upon the life of Polycarp, and as usual starting doing image searches since I’m fascinated with online media.

Clicking over to the various polycarp in the flamesimages of the martyrdom of Polycarp, it’s amazing to find the number of people who give such succinct, relative and insightful thoughts on the man, the meaning of his death, his ample Faith.

It was yet another one of those ‘What in the world can I say that hasn’t possibly been said?” type of moments. They come so often when I sit here to type away in my blog.
polycarp in the flames again

However, the description of Polycarp on the pyre is so profound: “he stood like a mighty ram, chosen out for sacrifice from a great flock, a worthy victim made ready to be offered to God.”

And ponder the amazing description of the flame as it encircled his body, “the flame became as it were a dome encircling the martyr’s body. Surrounded by the fire his body was like bread that is baked, or gold and silver white hot in the furnace, not like flesh that has been burnt.”

polycarp amidst the flames
It sounds like a pretty gruesome way to go, yet somehow there was a beauty to it in his peacefulness. He did it in love of Jesus Christ, and to witness for us.

That’s amazing.

The Wisdom readings from Mass are also moving:

She walks with him as a stranger
and at first she puts him to the test;
Fear and dread she brings upon him
and tries him with her discipline
until she try him by her laws and trust his soul.
Then she comes back to bring him happiness
and reveal her secrets to them
and she will heap upon him
treasures of knowledge and an understanding of justice.

We are always tried by Wisdom, with the laws of Wisdom… worthy of contemplation.

Ponder the Laws of Wisdom; remember the intercession of the martyrs. Give witness to Jesus Christ.

Getting Ready for the New Mass Translation

John Michael Talbot speaks about music he is writing for the new translation of the Mass.

Pray Tell is a fun weblog which seems to be offering a lot about the upcoming Mass translation changes.

And I only say that after coming across an article about Michael Joncas, who’s writing a new musical setting for the Mass.
John Michael Talbot
Here is a version of the Lord’s Prayer, by Joncas. It’s a 4 part, Russian Orthoxdox meeets John Rutter type of treatment. (Well… it is.)

And then there’s Sing the New Mass from the folks over at World Library Publications.

Sylvane at Easter You can preview their offerings there.

Monday's a Blessing

I’ve been helping out from time to time by playing the organ at a Church downtown when I’m able and when they’re in need.

Buried amidst the windows in the loft, as is the case in most Church lofts, are windows that no one ever sees, but which tell some type of story which begs for more answers.

burning church

Like this window, picturing a Church engulfed in flames.

stairs

It’s not the kind of window you really want to put on the fourth floor, when this is the only way down.

gallery

Of course there are also the lengthy galleries, which occasion much walking to and fro between sets of stairs. That’s the cantor way over there, who’s walking upstairs to talk over music before I walk down stairs to discuss improvements to my cardio vascular health.

jardin

It’s a beautiful place, with small gardens here and there.

Later that night, this is hardly a great picture. But my shadow in the left, it’s looking like a tall version of Jabba the Hut with a camera. That also occasions discussions of my cardio-vascular health.

Monday ~~~ an awesome day for reflection to begin the week.