Seven Quick Takes, Drumming out the old edition

— 1 —

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’m sorry I haven’t been posting that much, but the fact is that I’m going to leave this all behind and hit the road. That’s right, my total and complete OWNAGE of the drum solo on “Free Fallin’ – LEGO Rock Band Version” has made it so, so clear to me that my entire life has been leading up to a rock career.

I made my husband promise that if I can get 100% on every drum part on every song on LEGO Rock Band and Beatles Rock Band, we will buy a real live drum set. Oh, sure, he’s said all along that no child of his would play the drums, but there’s that little codicil at the end that says “I never dreamed my WIFE would want a drum set.”

So I need some other band members. I figure if famous authors can perform as the Rock Bottom Remainders, the time has come for a bloggers’ equivalent. No, I am not going to Google to find out if there is already a blogger equivalent. What I’m saying is that we need someone on the bass, a guitarist, at least one lead singer (I could maybe do backup) and keyboards, too. Oh, sure, I already own and can sort of play piano, but what fun is it to run away from it all if you have to actually practice a real instrument?

We’ll be moms (edited to accomodate non-mom people with actual talent who have signed on in the comments), we’ll be rockin’, we’ll be called SPRAWL or some such because we’re from the suburbs, dig it. And our children will have no way to rebel except to take up classical music. It’s a flawless plan.


— 2 —

We can make our debut in the lounge outside the 2012 Catholic New Media Celebration next summer. It’s going to be in Dallas/Fort Worth at the end of August, so it will include the penitential component of Texas in August. That has to be worth an indulgence. I am planning to go and I hope you will, too!

— 3 —

I’m going to take issue with our hostess’ admittedly sound argument in favor of the basic Kindle. Granted, she is correct that

What’s wonderful about the basic-model Kindle (and presumably the basic models of other e-readers as well) is that there’s no temptation to do anything other than read a book.

although I would have to add “or buy a book,” as that is an ever-present temptation. Oh, but look! I can check out books from the library for free! Whee!

My in-laws gave me a Kindle Fire for Christmas, and it is definitely my favorite gadget. I’ve installed a few apps and I honestly can’t speak authoritatively on the merits of various Kindle versions. But if I’m right that the Fire has apps and the basic models don’t, I will say that I think it’s worth the increase in price. I’m able to read and annotate PDF’s with the ezPDF Reader Pro app – wait, that might not depend on having a Kindle Fire – well, anyway, it’s cool. I really love being able to highlight and make notes inside of the text, particularly since I have a couple of books in draft form that I’m reading for people and this is far, far easier than reading on a computer screen.

Um, I’m not rebutting Jennifer’s point when I say that I really like being able to watch Hulu Plus on my Kindle, I guess. I’m not planning to install Facebook or Twitter because I do want this to remain primarily for reading.

I guess my point is: I love this present.

Oh, and also: EVERNOTE.

— 4 —

My father-in-law wanted to show me how easy it is for him to give me books via the Amazon store. “What’s a book you’ve been wanting to read?” he asked. “CATCHING FIRE PLEASE!” I whispered with the feverish anticipation that can only come from slamming through the first book of the Hunger Games series. Have you read it? I kept hearing people talk about it and decided to check it out for free (you can check out one book a month if you have an Amazon Prime membership.) I knew I’d never be able to wait to get the books via the library.

The first two books are terrific but I wasn’t crazy about Mockingjay. The series has an Ender’s Game feel about it in its treatment of violence and the manipulation of children for propaganda purposes. The third book is bleak and more explicit both in its violence and its treatment of sexuality. I was thinking I would let my son read the series in a year or so but I think I may hold off for a while. I try to not introduce a series to my kids unless I know it’s not going to escalate to addressing topics that aren’t mentioned in the earlier books.

— 5 —

Gingerbread structures are my thing at Christmastime, and this year I attempted a neighborhood (well, two families) get-together to construct a gingerbread train. We had six train cars in all, with the idea that each family could decorate a car or two and then take them home to their own houses. Although the evening was enjoyable, the decorating took a turn for the worse when one car, overloaded with marshmallow Peep trees, decided to explode. It was eventually determined that the best course of action was to continue the “gone off the rails” theme and turn that car into a testament against distracted train driving.

No pictorial evidence exists, as the train eventually ran so far off the rails it ended up in the trash.

We took three of the better cars to San Antonio with us for Christmas day with family, and I think the kids thought this would be the year: the year when the gingerbread structure actually gets eaten.  Usually, we leave it up for a couple of weeks, during which time the children beg to be allowed to snack on it and I stubbornly forbid doing so. Then it gets forgotten for another week or so, at which point the gingerbread has turned to stone and the entire enterprise ends up in the garbage. Kind of a depressing end to the season, really. But that’s how I see it panning out yet again, as the train was used for a centerpiece but then passed over in favor of other, fresher, more flavorful, less-touched-by-small-children desserts.

I can respect that.

— 6 —

Want to capture the Christmas joy all the way up to whatever date you consider to be the end of the Christmas season? (EPIPHANY) Tune into Korrektiv Radio on Pandora.

Based on reader-submitted favorites, we created two stations:

Korrektiv – Sacred Christmas Radio

Korrektiv – Secular Christmas radio

And, in honor of our New Orleans pilgrimageDixieland Christmas radio.

(I really am going to write up a travelogue of that weekend at the Walker Percy conference, even if the only one who still wants to read it is Melanie with her fancy new blog.)

— 7 —

I am going to try valiantly to eschew New Year’s Resolutions, even though I like making Grand Promises of Reform so much that I do so every 5.3 days (approximately). But I do want to come up with a better system of budgeting for our groceries. We have a Kroger here and I remembered the halcyon days of double coupons and hoped to get back in that habit, but alas, they have discontinued the practice. Still, I think my best bet is going to be to pick one grocery store chain to start with and get to know when their specials are, rather than try to make 3-4 trips a week to different groceries. With the children.

Anyone have good tips? Are there cool apps out there that help with grocery shopping? You know, for my Kindle. (Just kidding – actually for my phone.) (I said I wasn’t a gadget person but I lied.)

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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  1. says

    I’m up for a blogger band. Credentials: play acoustic guitar, played electric guitar in front on thousands of semi-interested teenagers, played bass in front of several hundred interested teenagers, can sing

    Next time you arrive New Orleans please tweet me @colonel4God

    • says

      Hmmm…you appear to have actual talent, which is not a qualification I had anticipated the band members would possess. I’ll try to keep up! Maybe I’ll just go with cowbell.

  2. says

    Argh I clicked on the Pandora link before I hit Post Comment. And lost my comment. But that’s ok because Johnny Cash is singing What Child Is This from my computer speakers.

    Oh I really hope we can make it to the CNMC but now I’m not sure we can afford to travel to Texas twice. (How do you like that alliteration?) Still, Dom will probably go. And at the least we’ll be in Austin in mid-September for my little brother’s wedding. Maybe we can stretch the visit and have some kind of meet-up?

    I nominate Mrs Darwin for your lead singer. I’ll be the band groupie, K?

    Yes, I do demand the Walker Percy travelogue. What are you waiting for? I mean, of course, thank you for the nice words about my new blog. I’m still giddy about it all.

  3. says

    I’m pushing it to the farthest edges of the Christmas season, here in the evening of “observed on” Epiphany, but I don’t let myself listen to Christmas music in Advent, with the result that I sort of miss out on it many years. So THANK YOU for the Pandora station(s)!

    I must say I’m more than impressed by your gingerbread train. That is a genre I’ve never ever attempted.

  4. Genevieve says

    Try the grocery game. It’s an online thing that you can try out for free for a month and then you pay $5 a month, but with its help I save about a third to half on groceries. And I spent sometime supporting a local food bank for pennies because stuff I didn’t want to get for myself, but is great for food banks would cost only 10 cents sometimes.