Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 168 (Fall Term)

Not much to report today. My aunt sent me home with 6 grocery bags worth of random food yesterday, one of which was a bag full of apples. I took 10 of them and the 2 of the pears she also put in there and cooked them down into curry sauce that I can freeze and use later. There's still a half bag of apples left. I'll need to make a Marlboro pie later this week before they go bad... but that's still a lot of apples.

One of the bags was full of oranges, so I think I'll reduce that down into a glaze I can use with meat. There was also a ton of pasta, 3 small bags of rice, assorted can goods, peanut butter, crab cakes, Dr. Pepper, dried persimmons, iced tea and Jell-O. Her timing couldn't have been more perfect because I've pretty much gone through the food I took from my parents.

I started working on another scholarship application today. I worked on it for over an hour, but got less than halfway through. Faith called in the meantime 'cuz she wanted to watch some movies, and after all of the cooking and cleaning I did today, the thought of spending the rest of the night working on scholarship applications was just not doing it for me.

So, we went to Holy Grounds and watched Shelter and Dark City. We were going to watch Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, but we couldn't get the subtitles to work.

Classes start tomorrow, but I haven't been able to buy any books because we can't get our student loans until this Wednesday. Argh.

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 167 (The City)

I went to The City today with my Aunt Ellen, who I haven't seen since before the Fall term started. ("The City" would be San Francisco, for all you non-bay peoples. Apparently, people 'round these parts don't like it when you refer to it as "Frisco" as we so lovingly refer to it down South. Apparently, it's is disrespectful to refer to San Francisco as "Frisco". Apparently, whoever decided this should stop wasting everyone's time trying to find insult where there isn't any and should stop wasting the precious little oxygen we have left on this planet. But, I digress.)

(Aside #2: I intentionally refused to "properly" use the word "whom" in my opening sentence because I don't like that word and want it removed from the English language. See? I can play the annoying language game too, Frisco guy!)

I thought we were just gonna hang around the city where she lives, South Frisco, I mean South San Francisco, but she wanted to go into The City instead.

(Aside #3: "The City" only works if you're in the Bay Area. What if I were in Austin, TX and I turned to my buddy and said, "Hey, wanna go to The City" today?" He would turn and look at me and ask, "What city?" And, I would reply like a 'tard, "San Francisco." And he would ask, "How is San Francisco The City?" And then, I would have to go into a long, stupid, unnecessarily pointless explanation about how saying "Frisco" is disrespectful and how people from the Bay Area require us to use either the full complete name of the city or some completely asinine and ambiguously pretentious nick-name. But, I digress.)

We had lunch at a dim sum restaurant in Chinatown, but I use the term "restaurant" loosely.

(See? More fun with words! :-)

The quality of the food was questionable, even though we both ate until we were stuffed, seeing as how it was an all-you-can-eat buffet, and I was never able to figure out how to get the bathroom door open. But, we couldn't beat the $5.99 price tag, so it wasn't all bad. I liked the desserts.

Afterwards, we shopped around a bit, and then she took me to Yerba Bueana Gardens where there was this really cool sculpture of this skeleton thing squatting on top of an enormous globe that was about 7 feet across. The skeleton on the globe is supposed to be standing up, and when you sit on this chair in front of it, it sits down as well. When you get up, it's supposed to get up, but I think the mechanism that raises the chair is broken, so it stays squatting until someone lifts up the chair. We never would have found this out if a man hadn't shown us how it works as he was walking by. The title of the sculpture is "Urge to Stand."

We took a bus too and from The City, my first time on a Bay Area bus, and we also found a Beard Papa bakery and had one of their amazing cream puffs. Overall, a really fun day. I'm trying to get her to come to my side of the bay so she can check out San Anselmo and the school. San Anselmo obviously can't compete with "The City" but my siblings thought it was more interesting than Frisco, so who knows?

Friday, January 29, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 166 (Chanterelles)

Kimberlee, Haley and I went on another walk today, and I came prepared with a small kit I had put together just in case we came across some edible mushrooms. It consisted of a very large plastic container, a steak knife and a medium sized brush inside of a small backpack. I knew we would be walking up the path that passes the chanterelle and blewitt patches that I've found. What I was not prepared for was the sudden downpour that we found ourselves in.

When we arrived at the chanterelle patch, it seemed like there was nothing there, so we kept walking. But, as I was about to leave, I noticed a disturbed spot of earth and leaves that looked like something was pushing up from underneath. I brushed some of the leave aside an found 2 enormous chanterelles! I'm not sure if it's a varietal thing, but the chanterelles that I have found there always seem to be just barely breaking the surface, and are quite really after they're picked, quite unlike this pretty "cooking show" quality mushroom in the picture above. It's so weird how they're just growing there by this guy's driveway. I had to cut the bigger one in half just to fit it into the container and it had the most beautiful earthy apricot fragrance. I hope I'm not taking mushrooms from someone who's expecting them to be there, LOL.

It started raining shortly after that, and the only blewitt we found was infested with worms, but it was at a completely new patch, so now I know of yet another place to find them! It's too bad that they get infested so fast, because they seem to be really common around here.

By the time we got back to the apartments, we were soaked. None of us had brought an umbrella.

It took me a while to clean the dirt off of the chanterelles, and following a tip I found on the Internet, prepared them simply by sautéing them in some butter. The website said they would taste almost like steak that way, which I think was a bit of a stretch, but I can see how they would be a really great meat substitute. Texture-wise, these things are amazing! I can't wait to go chanterelle hunting for real in a forest! I just need to figure out where a good place to look would be.

I'm finally hanging out with my Aunt Ellen tomorrow. She lives in South San Francisco, but I haven't seen her since before the Fall term started. Hopefully the weather's better!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 165 (United 93)

I know it's weird that I'm writing about this now when I didn't even mention anything about it on Sept 11th, but I just watched the movie United 93, and it brought all of those memories back from that horrible day. I remember growing up and thinking about how my generation didn't really have a moment where everyone knows exactly where they were when some important historic event happened, like the moon landing or when Kennedy got shot. The closest thing I could think of was the O.J. verdict, and believe me when I say I understand that was not an important event.

I know Kennedy get shot was awful, but Sept 11th was WAY worse. It's not really a game that I want to win.

I remember waking up that morning and turning on the radio as I was getting ready for work. I used to listen to this radio show hosted by Jamie, Frosty and Frank. They were talking about how horrible it was that an airplane had crashed into the world trade center. I remember thinking that it was either some kind of weird radio prank, or something really bad was happening, so I turned on the TV and every channel was showing the smoke coming out of the world trade center building. I think the second tower got hit as I was driving to work; I cant remember exactly. Needless to say, we didn't get a lot of work done that day.

One of my co-workers panicked and left to take her kids out of school. I remember how scared everyone was. The world seemed to have gone mad. I remember looking up at the sky the next few nights and how eerie it was because there were no planes. There's always planes.

I always felt so proud of the people on United Flight 93. They were so incredibly brave in what they did. They make me proud to be an American. I had gotten the DVD from Netflix months ago, but for some reason never had the chance to watch it. I think I kept finding excuses to do other things because I knew how painful it would be to watch. I cried for a large portion of it.

So, my generation has a moment now where almost everyone can say where they were when it happened. I had hoped that watching Obama bet sworn in as the first black president would have overwritten it, but Sept 11th still stands out as the more significant day in my personal history.

As a human race, we keep making huge advances in technology even as we continue to bicker and squabble and destroy our planet. Hopefully I will live to see the first human walk on Mars. That would be a great day.

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 164 (4 am)

Stayed up way too late playing Magic. Will do real blog tomorrow.... hopefully. Night!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 163 (Mushroom Time With Charles)

Yes, it is Mushroom Time! (I know you are all super excited!) I'm not sure if it's the rain or just the time of year, but the mushrooms I've been finding have been really, really weird lately!

Just found this one today. I caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of my eye through the ivy, and I didn't even recognize it as a mushroom at first because it was so big! It was the size of a dessert plate! I took a picture of the sign behind it for Baird Hall for scale.

Some amazing colors coming up. The orange finger things (sorry for the quality of the picture) were like highlighter orange! These were growing by the spot where I found the candy caps.

This Alice in Wonderland specimen was also found there.

The color isn't quite what it should be for these guys, but they were kind of translucent and they looked like they were filled with a bright yellow light.

more of the red 'shrooms that grow everywhere...

This sea sponge looking thing is growing in the ivy by the stairs to Oxtoby. Isn't it cute?

I like to tell people that this one looks like a pile of spaghetti. It's growing on the hill behind Oxtoby.

I found these on the hill on the way to Holy Grounds. Isn't it weird looking? It's called a black elfin saddle and is apparently edible, but it seemed a little too insubstantial to deal with.

I was so excited when I found this 'cuz I've always wanted to see one. It was growing by the entrance to the parking lot in front of Scott Hall. I think it's commonly known as an earth star.

I found these alien finger things while on a hike with Tom. They were growing everywhere!

This one looked like an ear growing out of the ground.

These are some of the other mushrooms we found on that hike.

Hope you enjoyed! Next time you go on a walk or a hike, keep an eye out for these guys. They're interesting and weird and will make your time outside that much more meaningful!

Gay Guy in Seminary: Day 162 (Real Life)

Is there such thing as a blog that really tells it like it is? I mean, one that isn't anonymous, anyway. Because, when I started this, I totally told myself that it was going to be brutally honest so that people could see all of the dirty little details of what it's like to be in seminary, let alone what it's like being a gay guy in seminary. But, the truth is, that may people that I go to school with and other people that I don't go to school with but am very close to, read this blog. I'm not saying that I've ever lied on this blog, it's just that I have to edit some stuff out.

I can't have a private conversation with someone and then blab all about here, as interesting as that might be for some of you to read. There are political things that go on with the school, things that students do that professors may or may not know about, and certain things that people say about other people that I simply cannot in good conscience put out there on the Internet for everyone to read. Remember, we are seminarians, not saints. Besides, I probably wouldn't have very many friends after a while. I do feel that I am a trustworthy person and I want people to know that. I suppose they must if they are aware of this blog and they continue to tell me things in confidence.

There are thoughts that I have that I simply cannot share here. Yes, as open as I am trying to be, there are some things that are just too personal, especially when they are thoughts about other people.

I hope writing this doesn't disenchant anyone who has been reading this blog.

It makes me sad that I can't represent the fullness of what it is like to be here, but there are more things that I have to consider than what would make a juicy read. But, Oh! how I wish I could tell it all!

In other news:

We had our last actual Hebrew class today. Bob gave us tomorrow off to study, so all we have left is the final on Wednesday. A decent sized group of us got together at Holy Grounds to study. I'll be back there tomorrow (with a bottle of red wine to take the edge off) to continue studying.

I showed those same people the movie Tank Girl when we decided it was time for a break. I guess you could say it did not go over well. I did warn them that it was not going to be some deep intellectually stimulating experience. It's just a fun, silly, crazy mess of a movie, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. Not everything has to be serious. It's a movie from my youth and I will always love it for it's irreverent sense of humor. I must mention, however, that watching it again now, it was obviously created by some not-so-gender-issue-sensitive men (or at least I think it was). Being acclimated to the environment at SFTS, even I was a little uncomfortable with some of the scenes in the movie. I feel like I should write a paper on it now. What is graduate education doing to me?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 161 (Ditching Church)

The seminary student was bad today and decided to sleep in instead of going to church. Please do not let this be an example for any of you. I was just really tired and felt like cooking instead. The orange glazed chicken turned out really great, but I still haven't gotten around to making the pumpkin cookies. Hopefully the shredded pumpkin isn't rotting in my fridge as we speak. Faith and I finished the Hebrew quiz today with the help of a few of our classmates (thank you Jeff & Kimberlee). Spent most of the day at Holy Grounds. Sometimes I feel like I live there, and Jim was telling me that I should consider running the place next year. Might as well, I guess, since I'm there all of the time.

I finally got an application back for one of the scholarships I was inquiring about. Hoping to get that out sometime next week. There's this other scholarship I still need to apply for. I know I shouldn't make excuses, but after all of this Hebrew, it's hard to get motivated to do anything productive. Maybe once Jan-term ends on Wednesday I can get all of the stuff done that I've been putting off.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 160 (Dim Sum)

A group of us went into the city today for dim sum. It was pretty good, but I've had better. I now know that when people say there are "2 Chinatowns" in San Francisco, they are actually talking about 2 different areas of the same place. There's the main drag on Grant that is the "tourist trap" Chinatown where they sell all of the kitschy souvenirs, and the "real" Chinatown, which is actually on the periphery all around the "tourist trap" Chinatown, where you can buy vegetable and sea cucumbers and stuff.

Afterwards we went to a Chinese bakery. There was a sign outside of it proudly declaring that they were "the only bakery in the entire United States" that makes their own moon cake filling. This is important because "water is the most important ingredient in moon cake filling," and "Chinese water has many impurities in it," suggesting that all other moon cakes that you will be able to find will be filled with filling made in China. Also, "San Francisco water is the cleanest water in the world." They make their moon cakes this way even though it is "difficult & hard" because they want to provide tourists (and I'm assuming the local population, chinese and otherwise) with the best possible moon cakes that money can buy.

I've always loved moon cakes, ever since I was little, but they're often made with a salted egg yolk in the middle, which I never really cared for. I bought one without the yolk... I hope. For those that have no idea what a moon cake is, it consists of a very thin and tender pastry shell and is filled with a sweet, smooth, dense paste, usually made from lotus seeds, mung beans or black beans. I'm pretty sure these are not the kind of black beans you will find in a Mexican restaurant, but I'm not really sure what kind of beans they are.

*sigh* Fine, I'll Google it...

According to Wikipedia, black bean paste is mung bean paste with black food coloring... Now I kind of wish I never looked it up...

Anyway, the bakery had an item I never imagined I would see, and would probably never think of on my own. They have chocolate covered moon cakes!!! I, of course, had to buy one. It was sooooo good! I can't believe I've never seen one before! Now that I have, the pairing just seems so obvious. BTW, I am eating my moon cake as we speak. I was writing and I could hear it calling my name. You can't ignore a moon cake when it wants to have a word with you.

In other news:

Faith and I finished the Hebrew parsing quiz today and practiced reading the part of the Hebrew Bible that the professor is making us recite in front of the class. We're going to work on the extra credit portion of the quiz tomorrow and practice reading some more.

I watched The Curious Case of Benjamin Button with Terra, Faith, Ian, Jeff and Matthias. Chris walked in towards the end, and Tom and Kimberlee popped in for a few seconds in the middle. It was a very interesting premise and I thought it was well done, but it was kind of slow and a little too long. There was also this weird sub-plot involving a hurricane that was just extraneous to the whole thing. I tried to find a parallel between it and the main story, but was unable to. It should have been edited out of the script.

I found a mushroom that looks like a pile of spaghetti and some black elfin saddle mushrooms that look like little brains on top of veiny grey stalks by Holy Grounds. I'll post pictures the next time I do a mushroom blog.

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 159 (Something Before Kung Fu)

Thank God it's Friday! Only 3 more days of Hebrew, although we do have our parsing quiz to do this weekend. Luckily, we can work on it in groups. To celebrate Friday, Faith and I did a 5 movie marathon in Holy Grounds consisting of Something New, Before Sunrise, Kung Fu Hustle, The Breakfast Club, and Hackers. We were joined at various points by Ian, Rus, Tom and Chris.

I also got an email today saying that my student loan will be available on Wednesday. THANK YOU GOD!!!!! I have been such a stress ball about this, ever since I got back from Christmas break. I can finally relax and pay off some debt now, most notable my sister and my parents O_o

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 158 (Fool)

I just finished reading Fool yet another of Christopher Moore's books, much loved author of such titles as Lamb, A Dirty Job, and The Island of the Sequined Love Nun. Fool is a retelling of Shakespeare's King Lear from the viewpoint of the fool. I don't really know anything about King Lear, so I can't really do a comparison of the two, but I can tell you that Fool is a rollicking good time. However, if you are sensitive to vulgarity, swearing, shagging, crudeness, irreverence, anachronisms, or just plain silliness, this may not be the book for you.

The basic story is that King Lear is getting old, and just a touch senile. Two of his daughters take advantage of this fact to bolster their inheritance, while his youngest, who truly loves him, is basically exiled. The fool, displeased with this turn of events, takes matters into his own hands, and mayhem ensues. Oh yes, and there's a ghost. There's always a bloody ghost.

In other news:

David, Terra, Ian, Gavin, Rus, Matthias and I resumed our D&D game. I think things are going much smoother now, although we still are not 100% comfortable with the game mechanics. Still, it was much more enjoyable than previous sessions now that everyone is getting more into it.

I was finally going to cook the blewitt mushroom that I found the other day, but somehow it was already riddled with holes from some insects that had been living inside of it. I literally picked it about 2 days after it popped up out of the ground. How it got infested so fast, I have no idea.

Finally made an appointment to see a doctor. Can't run out of blood pressure medication. That. Would. Be. Bad.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 157 (The Lovely Bones)

I just got back from watching The Lovely Bones with Faith. What a great movie! Of course, they had to leave a lot of what happened in the book out of the movie, other wise it would have been too long, but the movie was really, really, really well done! I always get worried when I go to see a movie adaptation of a book that I really like, because Hollywood has a way of messing these things up, but I think Peter Jackson really hit the ball out of the park with this one. Lord knows he has enough directing experience, and with an all-star cast and amazing source material, he would have had to try pretty hard to mess it up. Thank God, he didn't.

For those unfamiliar with the story, it is about a 14-year-old girl named Suzy Salmon that is murdered. This happens right at the beginning, and I'm pretty sure it's in the trailer, so I'm not ruining anything for you. She watches her friends and family continue their lives without her and struggles with moving on, even as they struggle to move on without her. Obviously, this is not a happy-go-lucky feel-good movie. It will, hopefully, make you reconsider the way you look at the world, as all good stories should.

In other news:

The candy cap mushrooms I have been neglecting have started to dry and now smell really, really, really strongly of maple syrup. I will need to bring them to class so that everyone can trip out on them.

The Chinese fast food place at the Northgate Mall food court has some of the best chicken wings I have ever tasted! They're lightly breaded, deep fried and have a touch of ginger. I would have bought some after the movie to bring home, but they were closed by then.

Faith got a new cast on her foot because the doctor found a crack in her bone. I'm not sure where exactly, but I'm gonna guess somewhere in her ankle. We're hoping it comes off in 3 weeks.

I'm officially tired of the rain, but if I understand it right, this is only the beginning.

I watched a video of a scribe who is part of Torah writing exhibit at a museum in San Francisco. She is writing the entire thing from start to finish using all of the exact same tools and techniques that scribes have been using to write the Torah of thousands of years. It a truly awe inspiring and Holy work. If you want to learn more, click here:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 156 (Rain)

The whole city (and apparently many outside of the city) was woken up at 3:45 this morning by a monster of a thunder roll coming off of a lightning strike that must have hit incredibly close by. I was jolted awake by the shock wave passing through my body and for a few minutes was afraid that the lightning might have hit one of the cars parked along the side of the building because the explosive sound was so loud. I tend to have very irrational thoughts when jolted from my sleep, and my mind was likely drawn to the lightning struck car theory because of the car alarms that were going off. Yes, the thunder was so loud that it set off people's car alarms. Getting back to sleep was difficult as the rain seemed to come in waves and the wind was whipping up a frenzy through the trees right outside my window. Getting out of bed this morning was not easy...

I did good on the Hebrew quiz today thanks to the 6 1/2 hours of studying I did yesterday. I'm gonna have to get the address for that website so that I can look at it later. I can't believe we're over halfway done with the class! We have a take-home quiz for the following weekend and then the final the Wednesday after that. Then it's a four-day weekend and Spring term starts. I haven't looked into what books I'll be needing. Should probably do that soon...

The rain is coming like crazy. We don't get anything like this where I come from, although my family's house IS at the bottom of a hill, so we have a fair amount of experience with minor flooding. Marin county put out a weather/flood advisory for the people up here. I hope it doesn't flood again like it did 4 years ago. I'm assuming they learned their lesson from what happened and took steps to prevent it from happening again, which of course is no guarantee. I've heard that every time it starts raining, the news stations send reporters out to San Anselmo, just in case...

Wrapping up the night with some Magic playing and Hebrew studying. Trying to keep things low-key...not sure why exactly. Still waiting to hear from my presbytery about where they want me to go for my psychiatric evaluation, the next lovely step in my ordination process. I hope they don't figure out I'm crazy...

Monday, January 18, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 155 (Not So Lazy Day)

Whew!!! I totally made up for the fact that I didn't do anything yesterday! I did 2 loads of laundry, finished the dishes (there were a lot!), cooked up a ginormous of pasta putanesca, and just got back from a 6 1/2 Hebrew study session with Nick and Marlene. I am so ready for the test tomorrow! XD

Now, settling down with a glass of red wine and said pasta. Life is good!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 154 (Lazy Days)

I'm having one of those days where I can't seem to motivate myself to do anything productive. I went to church this morning and talked to my parents a little bit on the phone. That was actually a really good thing 'cuz I haven't talked to them in a while. My did is so cute; he told me to take care of myself 'cuz I don't have a mom and dad up here to take care of me. I had some pine spike mushrooms for dinner; hopefully I'll wake up tomorrow.

The check that my sister Dianne sent finally showed up, so money-wise, I should be fine until the student loans come through. I was only able to do half of the dishes 'cuz there wasn't enough room in the drying rack, and I didn't get to my laundry today, so getting dressed tomorrow should be interesting. Didn't study for the Hebrew test, so that should be my primary activity tomorrow. Luckily, we have this Monday off.

That's pretty much it. Kinda pathetic now that I see it written down, but what else is the second day of a three-day weekend for? Oh well, tomorrow is another chance to actually make something of my day, and by then I will have no choice, LOL. Typical procrastinating me. Wish me luck!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 153 (Baptist Coffee)

Just got back from coffee with Michael, the pastor at Abiding Way. I'm not really sure how I've been coming across with regards to Southern Baptists on this blog, so let me just say that I think overall Baptists are wonderful people and the minister at Abiding Way is a great example of a great Baptist. My youth leaders when I was in high school were actually a Southern Baptist couple from Tennessee who ended up at our church because they couldn't find a Southern Baptist church to go to.

I had no idea that Marin Coffee Roasters was so busy and loud on Saturdays! Luckily, we were able to find a table outside to have our conversation. I opened by telling him that I did not want to go to church at Abiding Way under false pretenses and that I had been wanting to talk to him so that we could have a discussion about homosexuality and tell him that I am gay. I wanted to hear from a Southern Baptist minister what the "official Southern Baptist stance" on homosexuality was. He explained that while he believed that it was something that the Bible states needs to be changed in a person, it is no different from the way that every single individual needs to be changed by the Bible's message and that Southern Baptists have wrongly been focusing on the issue of homosexuality.

While I appreciate him saying that, it does not change the fact that they do believe and preach that homosexuality is wrong. So, my follow-up question to that was how that should be presented to the gay community. Now, I have to say this is the point where he answered in the typically naive way that when a gay person hears such a message, that it will cause him or her to reevaluate the way they have been living their life. I tried to explain to him that by proclaiming homosexuality to be an abomination, people were being turned away from the church and causing strife within it, undermining what I believe to be the primary function of the church, which is to spread the good news of God's eternal love for us and Jesus Christ dying on the cross for our sins. He countered that by saying that "proclaiming truth" was a function of the church that is on par with evangelism.

I tried, unsuccessfully I think, to explain that by "proclaiming truth", some people in the church were actually undermining the church's ability to evangelize, but because of our fundamental differences in theology, while he may understand the concept to a degree, I don't think he is capable of fully agreeing with it.

Afterwards, we talked about what it's like to be a pastor and the differences in beliefs between our two denominations in regards to baptism. It was a very pleasant conversation, and while I think we both walked away with our personal beliefs intact, we now have a much better understand of where the other person is coming from. We hugged goodbye and I told him that I would see him in church tomorrow.

Of course, my friend Jeff was watching all of this from less than 3 feet away on the other side of the window from inside the coffee shop.

So, we each walked away with our irreconcilable differences, yet we still respect and care about each other. What a concept, huh? If only our churches could be so accommodating.

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 152 (Halfway Point)

Thus ends the 2nd week of the Hebrew intensive. Blogging super late today because I was super distracted. Went for a super long walk with Tom & Kimberlee after class, collected pine spike and candy cap mushrooms, although I am going to do a little bit more research to make sure the mushrooms I think are candy caps actually are candy caps before I eat them. Then I showed Tom The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, and he showed me The Bear, which is a ridiculously anthropomorphic movie about bears for anyone who hasn't seen it. Wrapped up the day with lot of Magic: The Gathering with Rus & Tom.

Tomorrow morning's the bid "coffee date" with the Baptist minister. Not sure what's going to happen, but I'm sure it will be interesting. I'll keep you posted. XD

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 151 (Proposition 8)

Proposition 8 is making its way through the court system right now. At the risk of seeming lazy, I am going to once again direct you to an article written by someone more knowledgeable on the topic than I.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 150 (The Onion)

I came across this heartbreaking article in The Onion today. It is about a gay teenager experimenting with Christianity. Very sad, every parent should read!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 149 (More Fun With Mushrooms)

Some more local shrooms:

I went on a walk with Marlene today in the rain. It wasn't a mushroom hunt, but I brought my camera just in case. At most, I thought we might find some blewitts. As we were huffing our way up a hill, I caught a glimpse of yellow on the side of the road. I walked over, thinking it was just going to be another mushroom, but when I got closer, I noticed the ruffled edges. We were not walking in the woods, so I thought there was very little chance we could have stumbled across a patch of chanterelles. I tried to look underneath to see the gills, as that would be the tell-tall sign for whether or not they were indeed the much sought after chanterelle mushrooms, but they were growing too low to the ground. Finally, curiosity and a small dash of hope and excitement won the battle in my head and I decided to just pull one of them up to look. I couldn't believe it! The gills were more like wrinkles, just like chanterelles were supposed to have, and it was very hefty for its size, another feature of chanterelles. It was a chanterelle! I quickly pulled up the other two, one of which was a monster at 4 inches across, and put them in my jacket pocket as I had not thought to bring anything to carry possible mushroom finds.

In my excitement, I failed to take a picture of them as we found them on the ground, but here are two of them sitting on Marlene's stove about to become a sauce for our pasta:

They were good, but I find it hard to justify their $20.00 a pound market price. Still, It was a very exciting find and we will definitely be keeping tabs on the area where we found them for any future tasty morsels! :-)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 148 (A History of Marriage)

A friend of mine wrote this wonderful blog on the history of marriage, especially when it comes to gay marriage and the church's involvement in the institution of marriage throughout history. Rather than give a less than adequate summation, I will simply direct you to it here:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 147 (Fire and Brimstone)

I went to Abiding Way for the 3rd time today. I kind of felt like I had to because the pastor there called me almost 2 months ago inviting me out for coffee, but I never called back 'cuz I got sick, then there was finals, then my phone broke and I went home for the holidays. We're gonna have coffee this Saturday... and I'm a little bit nervous.

I know they're Baptist..I KNEW that they were Baptists, but I kept telling myself, "They're in Marin County. How conservative can they be?"

Well, the answer is basically as conservative as you could expect Bapists to be. I wasn't expecting to hear it, especially considering how laid back these people seem, but the pastor delivered a full-fledged "Fire and Brimestone" sermon today. For those that don't know what that means, the liberal Protestant way of describing these types of sermons are "Turn or Burn" sermons. In other words, he was saying, "If you don't already accept Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you better convert right now or you might go to hell." Seriously.

This highlights the fundamental difference between Baptist faith and Presbyterian faith. What Baptists teach is that it is each person's individual responsibility to "believe," meaning they essentially have to do the work of saving themselves. Presbyterians teach that God is the one that moves in individuals to allow them to believe. Even as I write this, I am aware of how this contradicts my own beliefs, but that is not the point of this particular blog entry.

To get to the point, I don't like "Turn or Burn" sermons. I don't like it when someone threatens you with an eternal damnation in their effort to convert you. I don't think that is what we are supposed to do... but again, it boils down to a difference in theology. I appreciate that they are doing it out of love because of their very real fear for what could happen to your immortal soul.

And then (just when you thought perhaps it wasn't so bad), he criticized how society accepting homosexuality as a part of life saying, "That's just the way it is," lumping it together with adultery. How are these two things even in the same ballpark?

Saturday should be interesting.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 146 (The Weekend)

When I woke up this morning and realized it was Saturday, I was beyond relieved. I don't know if I can take another 2 and a half weeks of this Hebrew intensive. Crazy day today. Finally left the apartment around noon to buy bottled water for Faith 'cuz she's on crutches and water in glasses is hard for her right now. Studied some Hebrew with Terra. Went for a walk with Kimberlee and EunJoo. We found another blewitt patch at the entrance to Phoenix Lake, but there was just one big one that looked too old. Showed The Gamers: Dorkness Rising to Terra, Rus and Ian. Studied more Hebrew with Kimberlee.

I sauteed the blweitts in some butter today and ate a small piece. I froze the rest. If I have no reaction, I'll scramble them with some eggs. I must say it smells delicious in my apartment right now.

Watched some videos on mushroom hunting and did some more research. This is quickly turning into an obsession.

Gay Guy in Seminary Day 145 (Shroom Walk)

I realized recently that the area I live in is inundated with mushrooms. They're everywhere, and they come in all different shapes, sizes and colors. Every since I was little, I have been obsessed with mushrooms. I think it's 'cuz they can be so weird. Anyway, it has been a lifelong dream of mine to pick wild mushrooms and cook and eat them. While I was on a walk 2 days ago, I noticed some purplish mushrooms that looked like one of the edible mushrooms I have seen in mushroom guide books.

I did some research, and it turns out that they were probably blewitt mushrooms, one of the most common edible mushrooms in the Bay Area. Blewitt means "blue hat". Because of their unusual coloring, it is basically impossible to misidentify them with any other mushroom that grows in the area. To be on the safe side, I took a spore print by placing one of the caps on a dark piece of paper overnight. If they were indeed blewitt mushrooms, they would have a white or light beige spore print.

Sure enough, the spore print was white!

This big one was infested with fly larvae, so I had to throw it away :-(

I'm gonna cook the other two tomorrow and eat a little bit to see if I have any kind of negative reaction. The websites say that some people can have an allergic reaction, even if the mushrooms are normally safe for most people to eat. If nothing happens after a week, I'll eat the rest of it. If something bad happens to me... you know why...

Because of my fascination with mushrooms, I took my camera on my walks yesterday and today to digitally capture some of the more interesting varieties. These are some of the mushrooms growing around the campus and surrounding neighborhoods:

This one felt like a deflated balloon.

This one kind of looks like one of the pictures I've seen of oyster mushrooms, but it is growing out of the ground, so I can't be sure. It could be growing from wood buried beneath the ground, but I don't feel like digging to find out.

These button mushroom looking things grow everywhere. I wish there was some way to know for sure that they were safe to eat, 'cuz that would mean free food everywhere popping out of the ground!

This guy was growing out of a cliff from the root of a eucalyptus. The whole scene was very "natury/fantasy" looking.

My first banana slug! I didn't realize until today that they lived here. This guy was HUGE!!! He was sitting on top of a big yellow mushroom... kind of Alice in Wonderlandy.

These one's take the prize for weirdest mushroom I have ever seen in my entire life! They had this weird greenish gray slime inside that smelled pretty bad.

I think they start out as these white clusters and then the red ball thing bursts out of it.

When the mushroom dies, it looks like a bag of exploded guts.

Hope you enjoyed the tour of mushroom land!