enough room

I’ve been keeping an eye on the storage space on my iPad of late. Between my books, magazines, dictionaries and all of my various apps, I find myself coming very close to capacity and having to clean out older magazines when new ones arrive. And I don’t even have any music or videos on it.

I have to say, then, that I was fortunate. When I went out to buy my iPad my intent was to save a hundred dollars and buy the 16GB rather than the 32GB version. But the only 16GB they had at Best Buy included the Verizon 4G, which I didn’t want or need, and which was more expensive. So I bought the 32 GB version.

Things do work out. I’m certainly glad that that is what I ended up with.

Ash Wednesday

Early in Epiphany I quoted Joan Chittister in The Liturgical Year: The Spiraling Adventure of the Spiritual Life. As we shift seasons and move into Lent, I thought another quote was appropriate.

The liturgical year is an adventure in bringing the Christian life to fullness, the heart to alert, the soul to focus. It does not concern itself with the questions of how to make a living. It concerns itself with the questions of how to make a life.

May you have a deep and meaningful Lent if you observe the season.

World Baseball Classic

Giants pitchers and catchers reported today. Marvelous!

Some players will not be with the team for long, however. Several will be off playing with the World Baseball Classic. Managers are not fond of the event, which is a big thing with the commissioner. They lose control over the players’ conditioning and there is always the risk of injury before the season even starts. For me, as a fan, it means that a lot of players are not around for me to see, at least not with their own team.

I could do without the event, but as long as the commissioner likes it I guess it will happen every four years. Barring an unfortunate injury, however, once the regular season begins it’s all forgotten.

a tribute to the past, and some of the new

Sonic Burger is better known in the South and Midwest than it is here in California. We have, however, had one here in Gilroy for a few years now. Terry and I had never gone there until a couple of weeks ago. On a recent Sunday we had planned to go to our favorite Philly cheese steak place up the road, but it turned out too chilly to sit outside, where the bulk of their tables are. So we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane. We drove to Sonic, pulled into a stall, pressed the button when we were ready to order, and were brought our meal by a carhop on roller skates.

Terry and I remember the A & W Root Beer drive-ins in the larger cities and towns of Southern California when we were kids. They had stalls, ordering over the loudspeaker, and carhops. Their Papa, Mama, and Baby burgers were good (though in retrospect probably not terribly healthy), and there was, of course, no better root beer than A & W.

At Sonic today there was a touch of the new as well. There was a terminal in which an LCD display showed your total, and where you could pay by credit card. Pretty cool and very convenient, actually. Another difference is that back in our childhood the carhop left the tray at your car until you were finished and took away your trash when you were ready. Now everything is in a bag, and the tray is taken away immediately. You are expected to dispose of your own trash.

The differences notwithstanding, it was a fun lunch with some good memories of the past.

Sacred Music Friday: Nunc dimittis

A haunting setting of the Nunc dimittis, by Sergei Rachmaninoff from his Vespers (Opus 37). Thanks to Penny Nash.

getting around the system

I’ve had an Amazon VISA card for a long time now. The idea of having the Amazon VISA is, of course, to accumulate enough points to get more books at Amazon. It used to be that when I had the points I could just order a $25 Amazon gift card for myself. A while back, however, Amazon changed the program to encourage customers to use their points to directly make purchases on Amazon. The $25 Amazon gift card is no longer available. That would be OK, but you can’t use the points to buy Kindle books. That’s not helpful.

I did find a workaround. You can redeem your points to get a statement credit on your Amazon VISA. I saw I had enough points for a $20 statement credit. I redeemed that and then used my Amazon VISA to buy a $20 Amazon gift card for myself, which I credited to my amazon.com account.

That’s another one and-a-half or two Kindle books. This works.

follow me on twitter: @MikeChristie220 I tweet whenever I publish a new blog entry.

do those beliefs still work?

Mike Todd over at Waving or Drowning? published the following reflection a while back.

Some thoughts from an early morning bus ride in Xiamen, China:
Every day we should consider the following: Do the beliefs, principles, values, tenets, rights, doctrines, etc., that I endorsed and embraced yesterday still serve me today? Do they reflect who I am today, and, more importantly,
do they lead me to who I want to be tomorrow?
This introspective consideration is not optional.
If we refuse to do it voluntarily, life has a tragic way of forcing the issue.
We need to do this as individuals.
We need to do this as communities.
We need to do this as nations.
We need to do this as a species.
Every day.

Worth some serious thought.

did you find everything?


TO:      Retail employees who staff the cash register

FROM: Mike

DATE: 5 February 2013

SUBJ:  “Did you find everything you needed?”


Please don’t ask me, “Did you find everything you needed?”

I never get a satisfactory answer to this question. If I say, “No I didn’t. You didn’t have thus-and-so,” I normally get an answer similar to one of the following:

  • Yeah, we don’t carry that any more.
  • The home office orders those. We have no control over that item.
  • I guess we’re out of that. Sorry.

This is not helpful. So please remove the aggravation and don’t ask me that. Just greet me with, “Hi! How are you today?”

Many thanks,


why we do things

You no doubt know this story.

The new bride made a roast for dinner and cut off the end of the roast before putting it in the oven. Her husband asked her why she did that, and she said, “I don’t know. My mother always did it.” This got her thinking, so she asked her mother. Her mother said, “I don’t know. Grandma always cut off the end of the roast.” So they asked Grandma, and she said, “Well, my mother always did it so I did as well when I started cooking on my own.” They all went to Great Grandmother with the question. She said, “When I first got married I only had a small roast pan. The roasts I got from the butcher were bigger than what would fit in the pan so I had to cut the end off.”

Simple enough when you finally figure it out.

In a similar vein, I was talking to my spiritual director about something. I don’t remember what. I said, “Terry and I listen to jazz in the evening six nights a week, and we listen to classical on Sunday. Don’t ask me why.”

So I started thinking about why. First, we love listening to jazz in the evening. When we moved to Gilroy in 1997 there was no jazz we could get over the air. We had the jazz channel as part of the DirecTV music selection, and we had our Bay Area KCSM as well as WBGO from Newark, N.J. on the Internet. On Sunday evenings those sources played either Dixieland or Latin jazz, which we don’t especially enjoy. So we listened to classical.

Like the roast, simple enough.

Today the number of outlets for online music is exponentially greater than it was in 1997. I’m sure if we wanted to we could find without difficulty a source for straight ahead jazz on Sunday evening. The truth is, though, that we enjoy listening to classical on Sunday evening. So we’ll keep doing what we’ve been doing.

Sacred Music Friday: Chichester Psalms

Bow Valley chorus performs the first movement of Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms