Monday, March 25, 2013

*mad giggling*

Iron Man 3 spoilers ahoy!

Seriously, if you're the kind of person who doesn't like even the smallest thing spoiled, look away.

Though, to be honest, I don't understand how that works.

When it gets close to the time of the movie release, do you disconnect from the net?

Do you crawl into a spoiler proof bunker?

Because even the *toys* are full of spoilers lately.

Though we're not going to talk about the Halloween costume I've seen based on this, because UGH.

And here, a nice picture of a bunny so the vid isn't the first thing to show up on a reader:

Cute bunny doesn't understand how you live spoiler free either. She respects you, but she doesn't understand.

And now:



Iron Pep!

*descends into squeaking noises of glee*

I'll just be...over here.

In my bunk.

Friday, March 22, 2013

ARQ Project: Surah Yousuf

So...yeah. Life happens. I had very good intentions for getting back to blogging but then Some People Who Will Remain Nameless decided to send me two large projects to do at work that *had* to be done the next day. When, normally, such projects would take several days to do.

And then my poor Baby dog got an eye infection that just won't go away, so he's on stronger antibiotics that have to be put into his eye every three hours. Guess who's waking up every three hours to squirt stuff into his eye? *raises hand* It's like the feedings that I've missed out on wisely managed to avoid by not having children have caught up to me!

*le sigh* But I digress. It's Friday and I have a lovely salmon pinwheel cooking and so we're going to try and be productive here.

*cracks knuckles*

Right. Joseph. Not Joseph, husband of Mary and step-father of Jesus, but Joseph of the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Coat of Many Colors fame. You know, Old Testament Joseph.

This coat. Man...this *coat*. It's like a rainbow threw up on fabric. I hope, sincerely and deeply, that this is not an accurate representation of what Joseph's coat looked like. Or maybe it's like that sweater that your grandma buys you with the googly eyed turkey's on it and you have to say that you love it, but really you're hoping to be mauled by a random wild chinchilla so you can 'mourn' the sweater.
12:3 - We do relate unto thee the most beautiful of stories, in that We reveal to thee this (portion of the) Qur'an: before this, thou too was among those who knew it not.

I don't know why, but I find it odd that Mohammed would never have heard of the story of Joseph before. There were Jews and Christians in the area, he was a trader Maybe he didn't know the details by heart, but surely someone would have mentioned Joseph before. Or maybe I'm just relating too much of my knowledge backwards?

Before we get going, maybe we should refamiliarize ourselves with the story of Joseph in the Bible, it's a long section, so I'm just linking to it here: Genesis 37-46.

12:4-6 - Behold! Joseph said to his father: "O my father! I did see eleven stars and the sun and the moon: I saw them prostrate themselves to me!" Said (the father): "My (dear) little son! relate not thy vision to thy brothers, lest they concoct a plot against thee: for Satan is to man an avowed enemy! "Thus will thy Lord choose thee and teach thee the interpretation of stories (and events) and perfect His favour to thee and to the posterity of Jacob - even as He perfected it to thy fathers Abraham and Isaac aforetime! for Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom."

The Qur'anic version of events differs from the Biblical narrative in that Joseph doesn't relate his dream to his brothers, but rather to Jacob, who warns him that all of his brothers are evil little jerks. It makes more sense, to me, for a younger brother to brag to his older brothers about these dreams and for this to be some kind of last straw for the older brothers. After all, they know that their father prefers Joseph over them. He gave him that nifty coat after all. (Also, Joseph was the son of the wife he loved, rather than the wife he got tricked into...) And you would think that if Jacob knew that his other sons were...ah...murderously jealous (given that they'd shown a talent for violence in the past especially) that he'd have been more careful about letting Joseph go out with them. Poor parenting? Perhaps.

I find something odd in the next couple lines.

12:8 - They said: "Truly Joseph and his brother are loved more by our father than we: But we are a goodly body! really our father is obviously wandering (in his mind)!

We have the brothers speaking amongst themselves, clearly.

12:9 - "Slay ye Joseph or cast him out to some (unknown) land, that so the favour of your father may be given to you alone: (there will be time enough) for you to be righteous after that!"

They go from speaking in the plural (our, we, our) to speaking to the singular (ye, your, you, you). Have they chosen one brother, perhaps angrier or more wounded than the others and started to pick at his emotions to drive him to kill Joseph so that they can claim clean hands? '*He* did it, not *us*!'

12:12 - "Send him with us tomorrow to enjoy himself and play, and we shall take every care of him."

This verse highlights a question I have, which is how old is Joseph supposed to be in the Qur'an here? He's 17 according to the Bible, which is old enough to be married and a father at this point in that culture. Past old enough, really. I get the impression from the Qur'an that he's much younger, but that could just be word choice here and how afraid Jacob (who, fearing his other sons murderous jealousy, should really not even be thinking about letting them borrow Joseph for any reason at all) is of letting him out of his sight.

12:19 - Then there came a caravan of travellers: they sent their water-carrier (for water), and he let down his bucket (into the well)...He said: "Ah there! Good news! Here is a (fine) young man!" So they concealed him as a treasure! But Allah knoweth well all that they do!

I find the lack of surprise from the travellers here amusing. They just pull up a young man out of a well and are like...'Hey! Another one! And this one's handsome! Woowoo!'

There's also a difference between the Qur'anic version and the Biblical one here. In the Qur'an Joseph seems to be found by accident - these travellers just happen by. In the Bible he's sold by his own brothers.

12:21 - The man in Egypt who bought him, said to his wife: "Make his stay (among us) honourable: may be he will bring us much good, or we shall adopt him as a son." Thus did We establish Joseph in the land, that We might teach him the interpretation of stories (and events). And Allah hath full power and control over His affairs; but most among mankind know it not.

I find this to be a little too out of the norm for human behavior for it to be entirely believable for me. A man buys a slave and says 'Hey! Maybe we'll adopt him as a son later! So place nice.' I know the story of Zayd and Mohammed, so perhaps this is meant to be an echo of that? Or a justification of the behavior? I can't imagine that it was common to free and adopt slaves in Mohammed's time either. But even if it were the case, Zayd and Mohammed had a long standing relationship whereas, at least from what we see here, Potiphar (to give him his Biblical name) buys Joseph and immediately decides that maybe he'll adopt him later.

12:26-27 - He said: "It was she that sought to seduce me - from my (true) self." And one of her household saw (this) and bore witness, (thus):- "If it be that his shirt is rent from the front, then is her tale true, and he is a liar! "But if it be that his shirt is torn from the back, then is she the liar, and he is telling the truth!"

I don't find this argument as compelling as Potiphar appears to, to be honest. A shirt can be torn in a great number of ways and certainly some of them can indicate direction of force, etc.

Also, I'm not sold on the verses that follow where the women of Egypt are giving Potiphar's wife a hard time because she's trying to seduce a pretty slave boy. That would have been common. Slaves had a lot of uses.

12:100 - And he raised his parents high on the throne (of dignity), and they fell down in prostration, (all) before him. He said: "O my father! this is the fulfilment of my vision of old! Allah hath made it come true! He was indeed good to me when He took me out of prison and brought you (all here) out of the desert, (even) after Satan had sown enmity between me and my brothers. Verily my Lord understandeth best the mysteries of all that He planneth to do, for verily He is full of knowledge and wisdom.

Joseph's mother is dead. So how did he raise his parents high? Or is this supposed to be a metaphor? Or perhaps it counts the mothers of his brothers as his 'mother' in some sense? 

I think this is one of the most complete stories that we get in the Qur'an. 

Any thoughts on this chapter? Anything that I overlooked or missed?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

(Hopefully) later, we'll have the next post in the ARQ project, about Joseph.

But for now:

I dreamed about going to confession last night.

And it was not a nightmare. So...yeah.

Go dreams!

also, addendum, I love how some people can be all, 'And then I just popped in for confession on my lunch break, it was awesome!' *eyes them*

Friday, March 15, 2013

I'm only technically an adult

Pie for breakfast.

And I'm seriously considering (by which I mean I'm absolutely) buying these:

It comes with a Lego DUM-E. I don't know how anyone could expect me to not buy this.

They'll look good right next to my Avengos.

ps, toy makers: you should maybe be more careful about spoiling things in your packaging. Much love, me. Not that we didn't all suspect or anything.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A confession about Confession

I'm afraid of it.

Not of speaking to the priest, exactly, but the entire process.

I've only ever been once, my first confession and that, boys and girls, was just over four years ago. And it left me less than impressed, which I know is not the point of confession, to impress anyway. But still.

Since it felt less like forgiveness and more like just chatting about things that annoyed me, I felt like it wasn't really necessary. That I wasn't doing anything wrong by not going to Confession but continuing to receive Communion. And not that it's an excuse, but there wereare a lot of my Catholic friends in real life who backed me up on this. Who never go to Confession and rarely go to Mass and see no problem with any of this.

And then I burnt myself out.

I think we all (Susanne) recall that I was a little...enthusiastic? Yeah. Let's go with overly enthusiastic in my quest to be the Perfect Catholic, Convert Edition (tm).

I burnt out. And I got frustrated, because I didn't understand Everything (which is a life issue with me, let's be honest) and I've never gotten the religious experiences that so many people seem to get. Even my sponsor has had such experiences, witnessed things that she believes are miracles. And I desperately wanted one (just one!, come on, don't I deserve just one...) and I couldn't accept the fact that (again, being honest), even if I *did* have one, I wouldn't trust it because that's just not the way I'm wired. I should have picked St. Thomas the Apostle for my patron saint, okay?

So I started looking elsewhere, and I stopped attending Mass. And then I stopped being sure about a lot of things.

*handwaves* Rest of the long-ish story short, I wandered and then I wandered back around.

I've been attending Mass, but not receiving because I've come to realise that I do need to do a proper Confession before I receive. But, due to my Extreme Social Awkward, I'm afraid of it.

Not, as I said, the speaking to the priest, because I think I can do that well enough. But the whole ritual of it. The technical bits. I've never been to Confession at my parish. I don't know which side is the face to face side and which is the screen side (I want that screen. The first Confession was face to face and I didn't like that. I don't want to look at the priest while I tell him all the sins I can remember.) I know what time my parish holds Confessions (Saturdays at 2 pm), but I don't know how long the lines are, how early I should get there, etc. And then, hey, four years without Confession. Kind of embarrassing (to me) to say to a priest.

I think about it and I think, 'This is the weekend that I go!' and then it's suddenly 1:30 on Saturday and I'm sweaty from working in the yard and there's no way for me to get cleaned up and be there on time and so I just shrug and go back to doing what I do.

I know that I'm sabotaging myself because I'm feeling awkward about the whole thing.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis I - Habemus Papem!

Cardinal Bergoglio, now Pope Francis I

ps: My Latin is apparently getting better, because before I looked it up I decided that Habemus Papem totally meant, 'We have a Pope!' So there.

I might be a *little* eager to find out who the new pope will be

Sooooo....I'm half watching a live feed of the chimney on the Sistine Chapel, waiting for the smoke to appear, right? And I clicked back to it after looking at another program.

And my heart jumped because I saw something white on top of the chimney, and I was like, 'Wheeeeeee! Pope!' and then I realized it was a seagull standing on the top of the chimney.


He's still there by the way.

I'm calling him Pope Avius the First.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Oh hell no

Things that are not okay:

A man old enough to be my father coming up and asking me if my Baby Sister has a boyfriend.

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

ARQ Project: Surah Younus and Surah Hud

Okay, trying to get back in the swing of regular postings. :) Since we're still waiting for the conclave to begin, Pope Watch 2013!, and I don't have new pet rats to post a million pictures of, we'll go back to my reading the Qur'an. Which I am behind on in both posting and actual reading.

This is another combined post, since my notes for these two chapters are rather short.

Alrighty then. Surah Younus or, Jonah.

My first note reads: 'God speaks in plural? Our - We - Us?'

Because, and I've glanced back through the previous chapters of the Qur'an, but it feels like this is a change. As if God, when he spoke previous in the Qur'an - being quoted directly - spoke in the singular and then all of a sudden it's plural. Is my impression right or is this a misconception I've got stuck in my head?

10.19: Mankind were but one community; then they differed; and had it not been for a word that had already gone forth from thy Lord it had been judged between them in respect of that wherein they differ.

I think that in part this is a reference to sects within religions, but could it also be a reference to the story of Babel? Where all of humanity became divided in language?

10.37-38: And this Qur'an is not such as could ever be invented in despite of Allah; but it is a confirmation of that which was before it and an exposition of that which is decreed for mankind - Therein is no doubt - from the Lord of the Worlds. Or say they: He hath invented it? Say: Then bring a surah like unto it, and call (for help) on all ye can besides Allah, if ye are truthful.

There's this command, again and again that if you doubt that the Qur'an is from God, then write something like it. Obviously I can't read Arabic so maybe there's something special about the text in the original language, but the translation isn't that...*waves hands* It's not that spectacular. It's not anything that hasn't been written before, none of the information is information that was unknown to mankind prior to the time of the Qur'an, as far as I can tell. The language isn't particularly beautiful or poetic.

Ever since Susanne mentioned it in a comment on an earlier post, I've been watching for references to Moses. There are quite a few, aren't there? The same story, over and over again, of Moses and Pharoah. It runs from 10.75 through 10.93. 

Keeping in mind that this chapter is named after Jonah, of the Jonah and the whale fame, I was waiting and waiting for that story to be relayed, at least in part.

It wasn't. 

Jonah gets one line.

10.98: If only there had been a community (of all those that were destroyed of old) that believed and profited by its belief as did the folk of Jonah! When they believed We drew off from them the torment of disgrace in the life of the world and gave them comfort for a while.


Seriously. Who named these chapters?

Right. On to Hud.

Hud, who is a prophet in Islam but is unknown outside of it as far as I'm aware. I've been trying to find any articles that reference him outside of the Qur'an, in a historic context, but have come up blank. That goes for the people he was supposed to have been sent to as well, the people of 'Ad. But from what I've read, according to Islamic lore, he was a prophet prior to Abraham's time on the Arabian peninsula. So, there. Hud.

The Qur'an does reference a couple of prophets that, so far as I have been able to find, are mentioned in no other scriptures. Of course that could be taken as being because the other scriptures were corrupted, which is the Islamic claim. Or it could be taken that these are strictly Arabian, pre-Islamic figures that were folded into the Qur'anic text because the Arabian people were familiar with their stories.

Hud also isn't in this chapter much, but he at least gets more than one line.

In this chapter we have part of the story of Noah. It varies from the Biblical version a bit, which you can read here: Genesis 6 - 9 if you want to refresh your memory. The biggest difference is that one of Noah's sons, in the Qur'anic version, rejects his fathers' faith and is drowned with the rest of humanity.

11.42-46: And it sailed with them amid waves like mountains, and Noah cried unto his son - and he was standing aloof - O my son! Come ride with us, and be not with the disbelievers. He said: I shall betake me to some mountain that will save me from the water. (Noah) said: This day there is none that saveth from the commandment of Allah save him on whom He hath had mercy. And the wave came in between them, so he was among the drowned. And it was said: O earth! Swallow thy water and, O sky! be cleared of clouds! And the water was made to subside. And the commandment was fulfilled. And it (the ship) came to rest upon (the mount) Al-Judi and it was said: A far removal for wrongdoing folk! And Noah cried unto his Lord and said: My Lord! Lo! my son is of my household! Surely Thy promise is the truth and Thou are the Most Just of Judges. He said: O Noah! Lo! he is not of thy household; lo! he is of evil conduct, so ask not of Me that whereof thou hast no knowledge. I admonish thee lest thou be among the ignorant.

I've heard it said that the last line from God to Noah, about the dead son not being of his household, is a reference to the fact that he was not Noah's son at all, but rather the fruit of an illegitimate union between Noah's wife and another man. 

If that's the case though, it seems strange to me that there's no mention of what happens to Noah's wife after her adultery is discovered. I guess it would be hard for Noah to divorce her since there were (theoretically) no other people on the planet except for his sons and their wives, so maybe Noah just had to suck it up?

The other interpretation that I've seen is that when God says the son was not of Noah's family, it was because he was a disbeliever. Which I think should be patently clear from how he didn't believe his father and tried to escape by climbing a mountain. So...this is the story of God failing at comforting someone after he kills their child? I don't know. 

11.81: (The messengers) said: O Lot! Lo! we are messengers of thy Lord; they shall not reach thee. So travel with thy people in a part of the night, and let not one of you turn round - (all) save thy wife. Lo! that which smiteth them will smite her (also). Lo! their tryst is (for) the morning. Is not the morning nigh?

We get a little bit of the story of Lot here, but this is the verse that sticks out to me. It seems to be saying that the angels (the messengers) told lot to run and to tell all of his fleeing family not to turn back, except for his wife. Who, as we all know, turns back and is turned into a pillar of salt. Is that what you guys are getting from this? And what about 'their tryst is for the morning'? Does that mean to say that Lot's wife was having an affair?

Friday, March 1, 2013

I want a pet rat.

Well, apparently I want two pet rats because I've been reading and they do better in pairs.

So, yes. Rats. Cute, clever little rats.

This is a goal.

Of course, I also have cats. Large, multiple cats.

Lookit his little face and his little hands!
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