Monday, January 31, 2011


I just had my first UCC (United Church of Christ) polity class today, and all I can say so far is that it was interesting. It didn't really feel like a class, more like a meeting of some kind. Although, we did get our first assignment, which is to interview a pastor and then do a one-page write up about how they got involved in ministry. This is due in a week, which I think is an unreasonably tight deadline.

Part of what we are supposed to do for class is keep a journal about our insights on the UCC denomination. I figured this would be a good way to revive my blog. Ever since I decided this wasn't going to be a daily ritual, I've been kind of lax about keeping up with it, which I'm sure you've all noticed.

So, what do I "know" about the UCC thus far? It seems to me that the UCC is a safety net for a lot of Christians that have left their denominations. I went to a UCC Christmas party last year and spoke to people who used to be Episcopalian, Lutheran, Greek Orthodox, Presbyterian (obviously), and even a Unitarian Universalist! That's an eclectic bunch of people! It made me very grateful for the UCC, because if not for the UCC, where would all of these people ended up? Also, the fact that it attracts such a diverse range of people is intriguing to me. It makes me think something very special is going on over there.

I will keep you all updated as I continue to explore the UCC as a possible new denominational home. I feel pulled in that direction, even though lately I've been having theological issues with the existence of denominations at all. Much of this has lessoned as I've talked to people, but there is still a residual hesitation. I figure, if I don't make a decision by the end of the semester, I'm not going to make a decision at all.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

$5,400 an hour

I have to go to the eye doctor tomorrow because I've been using the same pair of contact lenses for WAY TOO LONG. Just some helpful advice: This is not good for your eyes.

While I was making the appointment, the woman I was talking to asked if I had my old prescription. I told her that my previous eye doctor was in southern california and I would not be able to bring it. She explained that I needed to get it if I could because it would have the fitting for my contacts, which shouldn't change, even if my prescription does. She went on to say that they could do the fitting here if I couldn't get the old prescription, but that it would cost $90. Needless to say, I got their fax number and had my old doctor fax it over.

Now, I've had contact fittings done before, and if memory serves, the doctor basically sits you in front of a machine and push a button. The machine does all of the work in about a minute and the doctor just kind of sits there and watches. So, I started thinking about this. $90 for 1 minute of work? That's $5,400 an hour! Holy $#!&!!! That's a little extravagant, don't you think?

And I don't want to get into a whole healthcare debate, but I think that is a really good illustration of what is wrong with our healthcare system. Some of the most basic routine things we need to have done literally cost a fortune! If you ever get the chance, look at how much you get charged for an Aspirin or Band-Aid at an emergency room. Of course, most people don't end up paying these outrageous amounts; these bills get sent to our insurance carriers. But, guess who gets to pay the premiums?

And, that's if you even have vision coverage (which I don't). So, the whole thing will be coming out of my pockets, which are pretty damn shallow. It's a good thing I got my student loan check today.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Life in Marin (Title Stolen from Mike)

I finally decided to go out mushroom hunting again. Since this is only my second year trying this, I'm not sure what's normal, but it doesn't seem like there's as many mushrooms in general this year as there were last year. Still, I took some pictures of my walk so all you folks out there can get a feel of what it's like here if you've never visited.

I can always count on these Black Elfin Saddle mushrooms to grow around campus.

Here's some Chanterelles of the FALSE variety. It's so disappointing when you find these cuz when you first spot them, you get excited thinking you've found a bunch of huge yellow Chanterelles. Unfortunately, these False Chanterelles are poisonous. I checked my usual spot for the real ones, but there weren't any there. I wonder if someone else knows about that spot...

SFTS is beautiful. 'Nuff said.

Marin is kind of a quirky place. Take, for example, this UFO parked in front of this person's house.

This is a picture from inside their courtyard. I'm assuming the person that lives here is some kind of artist.

Witch's Butter. Pretty gross looking, isn't it?

I almost walked right by this cup type mushroom. It blended right in with the dead leaves.

A bunch of cool-looking red mushrooms growing around the graduation field.

And, of course, the Stinkhorn Lattices are back.

My loot for the day. Pretty sad, but at least it was something.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fable III

Over the break, I was playing Fable III. It normally doesn't take very much for me to get into a video game, especially a fantasy role playing game like Fable or Final Fantasy, but I was especially excited to play Fable III because you can play as a male character and get married to another male character. Of course, you can also have a heterosexual or lesbian marriage.

I know this is nothing new; when the first Fable came out, no pun intended, the kids in my youth group were playing it and told me about the possibility of having a gay marriage. For the first Fable, however, you could only play as a male character, and if you had a heterosexual marriage, there was an elaborate ceremony, whereas if you decided to marry a man, there was no bonus animation to watch. You and your intended would just jump up and down with excitement when he accepted your proposal.

I never played the first Fable; I think it came out during a time in my life when I was trying to limit my exposure to video games. I know how addicted I can get to them. Also, there's always the money issue. I haven't bought a console since the Sega Dreamcast, and that was a really long time ago. Side note: I've started playing my old Sega Dreamcast games again, LOL.

Anyway, I haven't finished Fable III yet because I can only play it when I go home for vacation. It's my friend's game and I play it when I go visit her. Luckily, I did manage to find a husband, one of the cooks that worked in the castle. I'm a king in the game now, but for some reason, my husband still works in the castle kitchen while I roam the world fighting monsters. I guess its good that we each have our own "things."

There's an orphanage in the game where we can adopt children. That will be my next in-game goal. In the meantime, I get to enjoy randomly visiting the castle, finding my husband and kissing him as the mood strikes. If only things were so easy in real life O_o.

I'm really glad games have come this far. I honestly have to say that when I was younger, I never imagined I would ever get to play a gay character in a video game. Truthfully though, it wasn't something I spent a lot of time thinking about, since video games so rarely deal with their character's sexuality. Most of the time, you're trying to figure out some kind of puzzle or kill the giant monster. It wouldn't be as interesting of a game without those things, but I'm am really grateful that game developers have added this new layer of gaming complexity.