reality is weirder than you think

Category: Beautiful Things (page 1 of 2)


Woe is me! For I am

Like the fruit pickers and the grape gatherers.

There is not a cluster of grapes to eat,

Or a first-ripe fig which I crave.

The godly person has perished from the land,

And there is no upright person among men.

All of them like in wait for bloodshed;

Each of them hunts the other with a net.

Concerning evil, both hands do it well.

The prince asks, also the judge, for a bribe,

And a great man speaks the desire of his soul;

So they weave it together.

The best of them is like a briar.

The most upright like a thorn hedge.

The day when you post a watchman,

Your punishment will come.

Then their confusion will occur.

Do not trust in a neighbor;

Do not have confidence in a friend.

From her who lies in your bosom

Guard your lips.

For son treats father contemptuously,

Daughter rises up against her mother,

Daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law;

A man’s enemies are the men of his own household.

But as for me, I will watch expectantly for the Lord;

I will wait for the God of my salvation.

My God will hear me.

Do not rejoice over me, O my enemy.

Though I fall I will rise;

Though I dwell in darkness, the Lord is a light for me.

I will bear the indignation of the Lord

Because I have sinned against Him,

Until He pleads my case and executes justice for me.

He will bring me out to the light,

And I will see His righteousness.

Then my enemy will see,

And shame will cover her who said to me,

“Where is the Lord your God?”

My eyes will look on her;

At that time she will be trampled down,

Like mire of the streets.

–Micah 7:1-10

God Emperor Appreciation Post

There’s not much to say, other than I’d like to add my small voice to the meme magic that is still behind GEOTUS Trump the Very Stable Genius.

I appreciate all he has done for our country and all he will do, and all his associates are doing.

The Storm is coming. It’s like Christmas but we don’t know when.

I’m praying for wisdom and safety for all involved.


Also I just love this picture.

Needlepoint is meditation AND instant gratification

I’ve gotten back into needlepoint lately. Counted cross-stitch, to be precise.

It’s great on multiple levels.


Even using a pre-planned design, working on a needlepoint project involves creating something that has never existed in the universe before. There is something primally satisfying about the act of creation.

This time around, I’m developing the design myself. I have an idea, and I’m planning out sections as I go. I picked the colors that I wanted (shades of coral and moss green, my favorites, with a tiny glimmer of yellow). Some of the specific patterns and fonts I’m stealing from other sources, but the overall plan is mine. I’m greatly enjoying the anticipation of seeing the execution of a design I’ve conceived.


Needlepoint projects are a mini-lesson in logistics. Do I start from the right or from the left? Do I do one stitch at a time, or go through the row one way and then back the other way? Letters first, or decorations? So many questions to answer.

I’m not a needlepoint expert, so I can’t give you answers to those questions.

But I can tell you that working on a project like this is a tiny way to stretch your brain in the arena of planning and execution. You know where you want the project to end up, and then you have to make all of the medium- and ground-level decisions to get to that end point.

Most needlepoint projects can’t be done in one sitting, so it’s also an object-lesson on working on a project bit by bit until it’s finished.

You can take this knowledge and extrapolate it to other areas of life.

Instant Gratification

While it sounds like the complete opposite of the long-term benefits, the thing that I like the most about needlepoint is the instant gratification. Every stitch that you finish is there, stitched into the fabric, for you to admire. That stitch, and all the stitches surrounding it, have changed the texture of the fabric forever. You can feel the difference if you run your finger across the stitches.

And that happens every single time you work on the project.

With other types of long-term projects, you don’t always get the satisfaction of a job well done until the very end. Cooking can be like that, and definitely event planning is like that. But with needlepoint, there are pretty things to look at (even if it’s just the colors!) at every step on the way.


I like the idea of meditation, but I’m not huge on the traditional practice of it. Experience has shown me that it’s valuable to stop thinking (in words) for a period of time, but I feel that it’s more important to shift the mode of thinking than it is to stop thinking altogether.

When I take a ballet class, I can’t focus on anything else. When I play music or focus on a drawing, my thinking shifts into those ways of thinking and all my verbal worries evaporate.

Same thing with needlepoint.

When you’re focused on creation, you’re not focused on yourself or what’s wrong with the world. Better for all involved.

In Conclusion

Consider trying out needlepoint. It’s fun, satisfying, and therapeutic.

My favorite song of 2017

Nosedive is possibly my favorite song of 2017.

I’ve fallen asleep listening to it more times than I can remember since it was released last January. It’s soothing, but dynamically interesting, and refreshing.

I love a good over-the-top k-pop music video as much as the next person (probably more than the next person, judging from my college-dude coffee shop neighbor right now), but the simplicity of this video makes it a drink for the soul, not just an entertaining spectacle.

And in this case, knowing the lyrics doesn’t cheapen the experience. This song is like a deep breath at the end of a long, difficult day.

For a long time, I wanna be with those
Who don’t give me a score
Among all the countless ratings
So I can go through the door of a lonely day
So I can live completely as myself

I think we can all identify with that experience, and I would bet that after you watch this video, you’ll want to identify with this old man.

I’m quite gratified that Dynamic Duo x Chen won the MAMA award for best collaboration this year. It gives this song more recognition and I hope that it can help seed a trend for more introspective k-pop.

(Certainly there’s introspective Korean music, but I have not yet started exploring it.)

The performance arrangement is interesting. The beginning of the coda has been changed to an intro, which builds anticipation from those of us who are familiar with the song–when will Chen’s falsetto come in?

The answer is: never.

I’m not sure if this is a brilliant workaround for a note that is probably only achievable in the studio, or if I feel cheated.

Regardless, I’m so happy this was performed live.

Craftsmanship Squared


A beautifully produced video of a beautifully produced garment.

A reminder that this is what we can get to if we put in the work.

That beauty is transcendent, and we have the power to make it.

The capacity for beauty lies within us.

Sweep away the chaff and allow it to shine.


*Complete sentences are for days that are not Saturday.

KILL ME HEAL ME appreciation post

Of all the Korean dramas I’ve watched (which admittedly isn’t that many) Kill me, Heal Me is perhaps my favorite. I’m indulging in a re-watch right now, because I need something comforting at the end of my work days (and am ready for a good cry).

I’ll do a longer post when I’m done to dissect the plotlines, which are interestingly interwoven and complex even if they do roam rather far into soap opera territory. But that’s part and parcel with Korean dramas — if you can’t get down with the melodrama, find something else to watch.

Once you get past the first episode, which is a bit more ambitious than the production crew can pull off — beware scenes set in “America” and the weirdest club crowd I’ve ever seen — the production is above average if a bit cheesy. (BUT WHAT IS A KOREAN DRAMA WITHOUT A LITTLE CHEESE?)

By nature of its story (a man with dissociative identity disorder must sort himself out), the drama lives and dies on the ability of its actors. Fortunately for us, the actors are more than worthy of the work.

It is a testament to the quality of the writing that KMHM can keep emotional coherence while simultaneously careening from gonzo humor to deeply moving pathos. The emotional tenor of the story takes its cues from the personalities embedded within the main character, but instead of taking a dispassionate view of its subject, this drama pushes forward until aspects of each personality infuse the drama.

I also appreciate the contrast between the main heroine, who is loud and played by an actress who is great at physical comedy, and the two main personalities of the hero — one mild, one intense. The juxtaposition of styles keeps the drama from veering too far into seriousness, and keeps it off-balance. The hero and heroine don’t seem to be a good match at first, but grow together over time.

It’s rare that you can find fanvids of great quality from one single drama, both a tear-jerky MV (top) and a laugh-out-loud crackvid (bottom).

Also the costumes are great.

Watch it!

I Made it Through

And sometimes, that is enough.

A Magnificent Moustache

I don’t have much to say tonight, so let’s all admire Edward Elgar’s moustache.

Apparently the proper American spelling is “mustache.” I had no idea.



Thought on Dunkirk

If you’re going to watch Dunkirk, watch it in theaters. Or at the very least, with really good headphones.

It’s all about the sound.

I mean, the deftly interwoven plots adds a layer of complexity to an otherwise standard story, and the cinematography is so artful that it seems out of place for a war movie, so there’s plenty going on that was visually and thematically beautiful.

To me, Dunkirk feels like a tone poem, or a meditation. It’s the examination of a multitude of perspectives on one theme, each meandering around and building off each other. Each character has his own view of the evacuation, elucidated to us by the three overlapping time periods but misunderstood by other characters within the story. It’s intriguing and complex; I want to watch it again.

But that sound tho.

The background noise becomes rhythmic, which becomes music, which builds in dissonant layers to create an atmosphere of suspense, and then suddenly it drops away into silence.

There is not a lot of music, per se, but the sounds from the war machines blends with tones from trumpet and strings. The sound grows from a watch ticking, or the reverberations of metal hitting metal underwater, or the spinning of a propeller. It dances meticulously through the pacing of the scenes, through the way that the disparate time elements were edited together: sound uniting themes across time.

There is minimal dialogue to distract you into thinking about words.

You are there in the firefight, in the sky, flying.

You are there, underwater, feeling the force of it push you around.

And when a melody of sorts starts to build, finally, out of the waves and the wind and the chaos, and emerges into a spare but heroic theme you are focused on it. The fleet of small craft is secondary; sonic chaos has built into order. The emotional and aural climax of the film arrives with the fleet of boats.

It is beautiful.


Tsar Nicholas II Appreciation Post

Sometimes, on a Friday after a long week, you just want to rest your eyes on a beautiful, powerful, historical man.

Welcome to the Tsar Nicholas II appreciation post.




You’re welcome.

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