Snippet

Precisely that, a snippet (page 7).


Saturday 24th December - University Christmas Carol Service

Ok, so the Carol service was nearly two weeks ago, but I wanted to wait till the video had been uploaded so you could see just why I look forward to it every year. The video may not be the one from this year, but at least you can get a sense of how beautiful the whole thing is. I will miss it dearly.

University Christmas Carol Service 2010
Click here for video

I might actually just pop back to St Andrews every year once I've left....

Monday 12th December - St Nicholas

We should all remember St Nicholas this Christmas because in 325AD he was put in jail for slapping Arius in the face at Nicaea. Who said saints are boring?

Sunday 11th December - Feeling Christmassy

Hello there! At this exact moment in time I should be halfway through writing a paragraph on Denys Turner, writing on Denys the Carthusian, writing on silence in mystical theology. But I'm not. I'm here writing for you guys! Don't you just feel loved?

Anywho, you can probably sense from how I started this post that I'm buzzing ever so slightly. Yesterday I had the pleasure of having a Christmassy evening that left me not wanting to leave the Bubble. With good company, irrelevant yet engaging conversation (i.e. reminiscing about the toys and games of the 90s), and imbibition, a fun evening was had by all.

Someone pointed out that it was funny that all of us were wearing checked shirts.

Apparently my son "loves" the envelope I put his card in. The snowman is a reference to this video 

I also gave my son his Raisin string. It may just look like a random bunch of objects but they all say something about him. The paintbrush is a reference to his creativity and his love for drawing (he "paints" on Photoshop hence the paintbrush). The keyring is an obvious allusion to his home away from home (he's a JSA student, returning to the States at the end of this semester). I chose this particular keyring because it has a Celtic cross on it and Celtic Christianity is his favourite topic in theology. The bourbon cream is purely because it's his favourite biscuit and he wishes they had them in America. It's personally my favourite bit of the string, probably because I enjoyed dashing around the house looking for cardboard to draw bourbon creams on. It also has the same design on the back, making it look good enough to eat from a distance. Last but not least is the Shy Guy from the Mario games. He likes his video games so I thought I'd include it on the string. And there we have it - my last ever Raisin string.


My friend seemed to like his talking bobblehead. I was so relieved by this because I didn't know anything about Star Trek when I was hunting for presents.

I made tiffin. It went down well with Disaronno

In other news, a new blog by a dear friend of mine called Go away I'm writing! has come to my attention. It's worth following if only to make sure you read her stuff before she becomes a distinguished novelist. I'd like to think I'm plugging it because I'm a good friend an' all, but deep down it's probably only because the blog's named after the Christmas present I bought her. You all still love me really ... I think.

Also, sorry for the colours on the blog. I tried to switch to one of the new "dynamic views," but didn't really like the way readers could change how they viewed the page. Why would you want to do that? It's the same content but with a different design. Anyway, I didn't really get it so switched back, only to realise that I hadn't saved the old template *sigh*

Sorry, what?

Saturday 10th December - Resting

I'm looking forward to the end of the semester. Not only does it mean I'll have my dissertation finished, but also that I'll finally get a chance to rest.

The Christmas break is often considered a period where we spend too much time with family, spend our earnings on presents and stamps, and eat ourselves to an early grave. But I don't care much for all of that. What I'm looking forward to is not having to think about my next deadline for a while. Sure I have an exam (yes, that's right, just one) in January but I won't think about that till next year.

In other news, I've just figured out how to send photos from my phone to Maximus via bluetooth, so here are some photos from the last few days:

Who says theology students don't have a sense of humour?

We seem to also have a fascination with pipe cleaners. We even had them at our Freshers' Week Barbecue. And at our Ball come to think of it.

Dancing the night away in the only club in town



My new climbing frame - An early Christmas present from Santa


Wednesday 7th December - Dissertation Woes

So I thought I had it bad with my dissertation, but then this popped up on my Facebook news feed yesterday:


Also, this is how I've been preparing for Christmas: 

Pre-Advent
Advent

Sunday 4th December - Christmas Lantern Launch

1. Watch Hard Candy
2. Go to sleep at silly o'clock (on the sofa, again) and undo the previous day's rest
3. Wake up, see that it's a beautifully sunny day outside then go back to sleep
4. Wake up (again), make a bacon sandwich, exchange chinky faces with brother and go back to sleep
4. Wake up, have a shower, brave the cold and go to the pier to release some Christmas lanterns
5. Lend gloves to a friend so my fingers go numb and purple, light lantern and allow it to grow into a great fireball, let it go and watch it fly into a group of screaming students
6. Relish in all the fire-fun





Yes that is me. I wasn't a fan of my face so gave myself a new one


The lantern trying to attack me. It should have looked like the one in the background







Saturday 3rd December - Pretending to be a Journalist

So, yesterday I had another dissertation deadline. I've been silly enough to leave all most of my research and writing till the last month and a half of semester. It's mad. A 10,000 word dissertation should have a topic decided by September, with research progressing throughout, culminating in an eloquent and detailed "intellectual tantrum." Not for me though. I've had about a month to do all of that, with three or four all-nighters to get the actual dissertation done. I'm an idiot, I know. I'd like to tell you now that it's finished, but my attempt to complete my first draft of the whole thing failed. I needed to write 4,000 words for Friday. I managed most of it but it wasn't completely finished. I started on Thursday evening after watching a film (yes, I deserve every bit of exhaustion, pain and bad mark thrust upon me for procrastinating), and then finished at 3pm on Friday. It's quite a strange thing to watch it go from light to dark, to light, and then to dark again. I was getting so desperate I had to get the big guns out - Red Bull. It's disgusting but it kept me awake. So awake that my hands were shaking and I was babbling and laughing to myself like Rafiki.

If that wasn't bad enough, come Friday morning I thought it would be a good idea to embark on some journalistic adventures. I wrote an article on the Karen Armstrong lecture and sent it to a few contacts. With the recent publication of a new Theos report written by one of our own (Steve Holmes), I saw another opportunity to write a piece and get an "exclusive interview" if you can even call it that. So there I was planning what I was going to ask Steve, when I should have been writing about William of St Thierry's view of silence and whether he incorporates Evagrius of Pontus' concepts of apatheia and hesychia. I do love my life.

Student band "The OK Kids" supported Vetiver

You would think that after staying up for so long I'd rest, but no. After a two hour siesta I went out. Yes, that's right, I got up off the floor (I was so tired I just sort of fell off my chair and fell asleep) and went out into the dark night. Thanks to Music is Love I go out when I shouldn't. The band playing that evening was Vetiver. Dubbed as "American indie folk," I couldn't help but think the lead singer looked like Matt Cardle, which is a real shame. A sad reflection of the way glamourised bog-standard talent shows have brainwashed us. Anyway I really enjoyed myself. I've uploaded a video, and posted photos. What's a blog post if it doesn't include photos?





Vetiver were great. For just over an hour, I thought it was summer again






 

Thursday 1st December - Karen Armstrong on "The Point of Religion"

Yesterday I attended a lecture given by Karen Armstrong called "The Point of Religion," as part of the University of St Andrews 600 Lecture Series.

[Click here for a shorter version of my piece on Independent Catholic News.]

I had initially planned to leave early to attend a meeting, but after she mentioned the need to recognise our "impotence of speech" and "finding meaning in the silence," I thought it might be worth staying.

Introduced by the Principal as a voice on ecumenical understanding who wants to make religion accessible, I was interested to see exactly what her point would be on religion. She began with how we talk about God / Nirvana / Dao, saying that St Thomas Aquinas would disagree with the definition that God is a supreme being, and went on to talk about how all religious language is symbolic (analogy etc.).

Following from this she spoke about the need for something more than what life can offer, she called it a "transcendence". (I should have stressed that the lecture was very much on religion and not theology. She quoted the Qur'an, spoke about Buddhism, and even told a short story about Brahman to illustrate her point about silence.) She was saying that if people don't believe in God / transcendence, they end up looking for meaning elsewhere, like in sex, music, drugs etc. They yearn for this transcendence but look for it in all the wrong places.

Saturday 26th November - St Mary's College Society Ball

Recently, the lack of writing on here is beginning to make it look more and more like a photo blog. Ah well. I enjoyed myself so much at the College ball that I could have danced all the way home had it not been raining cats and dogs.

Also, I'm going to miss ceilidhs when I leave Scotland.










The Committee

Bubble battle





















The ball may have finished, but we hadn't finished dancing