Monday, July 30, 2007

Latin Mass meeting

I just got back from a meeting for the people who want the Latin Mass in Fort Collins. Here's the scoop:

- They don't know where it's going to be yet, but wherever it is at first, it'll be temporary: We're eventually going to be building our own church. And, judging by what Fr. Jackson (the priest who will probably be saying Mass for us) said, it may not be an itty-bitty chapel. We've already got pews, Communion rails, and there's a surplus of high altars that have been offered to us (not just cheesy ones, either. Real white marble, fantastic statuary, the whole she-bang!).

- They don't know what time exactly, but it'll be on Sunday afternoon/evening-ish. It depends on the location.

- The first Mass is going to be Sept. 2nd.

- Said Mass is going to be a High Mass. Heeeeeeeeeerrrrrrreeeee's where it gets interesting.

Getting together the Music for a High Mass is not going to be a walk in the park! Carl Dierschow, the director of a Gregorian chant choir at a very contemporary parish right by my house was at this meeting. The first person that Fr. Jackson looked to when he said "This will be a High Mass," was Carl. The expression on Carl's face was priceless. It was something between "Holy Lord, Mother Mary, HELP!" and "Are you serious?"

And Carl's first reaction: To point to me, the one teenager there, and say, "Hey, she's the one that you should talk to, she knows what she's doing." (Not an entirely true statement, people! I have much to learn)... So, I am now unofficial music person for that Mass. And possibly all the following ones.

Now, regarding this particular Mass: there is no way Carl's chant choir is going to be able to sing the Propers for a High Mass. No way. Not feasible. Me, I can sightread the Propers, but that doesn't do any good. I need to find a choir. Ooooooooohhhhhh boy. I have a month to get together enough people to sing at a High Mass. *promptly gets down on knees and says a Memorare and a prayer to St. Jude*

- Supposedly, we have an organist. He wasn't at the meeting, but someone said he'd be willing to come play. (whew! that's a load off my shoulders.)

- We have land. Donated for $1, provided we build a church on it.


A request: Rebecca Willen, if you're reading this, can you beg your sister (and heck, the whole Holy Rosary choir!) to visit me on the 2nd of September? I... need... help... *goes off to find the Propers for that Mass*

Monday, July 23, 2007

Character deaths

For those of you who are familiar with my writing and/or why I started writing, you already know that one of my pet peeves is that my favorite character in a story usually dies a heroic death. The point of this post, however, is not to rant about how the author had the nerve to kill off a character (specifically, a character that I liked); rather, I want to show why character deaths bother me so much from a writer's standpoint.

Realistically, I don't mind the character dying. Hey, I've killed off my fair share of valiant heroes, innocent bystanders, and rabidly cruel villains alike. BUT! I really do mind when my favorite character in a story dies for practically no purpose whatsoever, especially in a story with sorcery. It's not the death itself that bugs me (often, some character death is necessary) - I just want to see it done well!

First Point:

There must be a need for the character to die.

If a characters dies, there MUST be a need. Take, for example, Gandalf from "Lord of the Rings": though he technically didn't die in Moria while fighting the Balrog, to the knowledge of all but he and the Balrog, he was no longer on the radar. This was necessary because, with Gandalf present, the Fellowship probably would not have broken up. Gandalf would have kept Boromir in line, so Frodo wouldn't've run off to Mordor; he would've sensed the Orcs coming sooner, and so would have warned Merry and Pippin to stick with everybody else. His death also heightened the stakes and increased the sense of danger for Frodo. So, Gandalf's temporary death was necessary, story-wise.

What I dislike is when characters die simply because "someone has to die". That is so incredibly pointless. Which leades into my next point:

Second Point:

The death cannot be cheesy.

If I read - or watch on TV, for that matter - another heroic death in which the loyal servant/sidekick/friend character takes the death blow instead of the hero(ine), I'm going to retch. Not because I dislike heroic deaths; rather, because they're usually done so poorly.

My opinion of the typical "friend leaps in front of the hero and is skewered by the spear meant for hero" scenario: it's pretty pathetic and an easy way out for the writer. If someone has reflexes fast enough that they can leap in the way of a moving spear (or arrow in flight, or javelin thrust, whatever), they're going to have insanely fast reflexes. So, if they're fast enough to throw themselves in the path of a moving javelin... wouldn't they be fast enough to be able to shove the weapon away with their hands? Or at least deflect it?

That's one thing that bugs me.

The other thing is mostly applicable in novels with sorcery or magic. The very first thing that a sorcerer (especially one with a lot of enemies) is going to do is protect his life in some way or another. All right, maybe some morons would do this by surrounding themselves with spells of strength, invincibility, etc. - but, if someone's smart enough to use sorcery in the first place, why would they do that? Rather than practically shout out "here I am and I cannot be killed... except by someone who breaks these spells!", why not hide all methods of self-preservation? Why not make a labyrinthine maze of complex spells that are next to impossible to trace and almost completely invisible/unbeknownst to the average enemy? It seems odd that sorcerers would put all their energy into, say, something as obvious as the One Ring.

So, in conclusion: I like deaths that are obviously well thought-out on the writer's part, that work well in context of the story, and that take characters who are likely to die. Apart from that, though, characters deaths annoy me. A lot.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chinese Zodiac

I find those things absolutely hilarious, for more than one reason. They're interesting ways to pass the time if you're bored while waiting for food at a Chinese place, but apart from that, I can't imagine their usefulness. Take my zodiac sign, for example -

"Horse: You are popular and attractive to the opposite sex. You need people."

... *dies laughing* I think they were describing my opposite, because:

1) I don't particularly need people. As a matter of a fact, I vastly prefer to be alone. My dream home is a 100-square-foot house in the middle of the Sierra Nevadas, with no neighbors except the mountain lions for a few hundred miles. Aaaaaah, bliss.

2) "Popular"? Me? I hope not. While I try to be friendly, true, I want to be there when I'm needed as a friend, not just have people seek me out constantly.

3) "Attractive to the opposite sex"...? Excuse me while I go vomit. *fierce glare* I hate being considered (much less called) attractive, especially by a member of the opposite sex. Let me repeat: I like anonymity and being unnoticed. "Graceful", "attractive", "gorgeous", etc. - you get the idea: I hate those words. If my zodiac sign is right, and I am attractive, then it's time for a serious makeover.

So, yeah... point made: Anything attempting to predict your personality and/or tastes regarding companionship based on your date of birth is absolute malarkey.

-------- that was a really random post.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

I now have a goal.

Results for the 5K I ran... 32:10. I forget what I placed; 600th-something out of about a thousand.

Ouch. That's lame even for someone who didn't train beforehand. However, I'm not at all disappointed - it was fun, and it was my first time running in an official race. Now, if I'd've been dead last, that would've been a bit of a damper.

So, my new goal: to run the next 5K I enter 10 minutes faster than I did this one. It'll be a bit difficult, but I've got the rest of summer to train. *chuckle* Here goes nothin'.