Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Earlewood/Chapin; Columbia, SC

Day two of my December disc golf holiday was a chance to revisit two courses I played several years ago.

Earlewood was a bit cold, but I shot a 59, and I didn't get many breaks. I putted well, but I hit many trees off drives. Not bad drives, just some bad luck. There are a number of elevation changes that make birdie opportunities scarce, and pars tough if you don't get solid drives. More of an old growth park in a downtown area; I like it, but I don't love it.

Chapin...well there is something about Chapin that just isn't user friendly. The first time I was there, I saw several players cheating at an Ice Bowl (charity event); I got sick on venison they but in chili; on one hole I find a crab that has been placed to bake on top of the basket (I put it back in the water); there are people who take multiple practice putts with others waiting. Last time I was here, I shot a 69 from the long tees. This time, I shoot a 56 from the short. I get a bad kick on the island hole, or I would have shot par. Still, despite shooting better, I'm glad to be done with this course. It's tedious.

Trying to decide whether to play Camden again on the way home (or maybe even Arnette in Fayetteville).

Monday, December 26, 2005

Woodward Park; Camden, SC

Christmas disc golf excursion got off to a good start.

When I left Buies Creek the winds were blowing very hard, but by the time I got to Woodward, it was high 50s and not too much wind. The course was okay. The short tees were a bit too short, and the long ones were pretty narrow through the woods. Being as rusty as I was, I expected to struggle, but I putted surprisingly well. The biggest problem was that I kept throwing the Sidewinder, but it went left too quickly. It took me about 7 holes to decide I wasn't throwing hard enough to turn the Sidewinder and I settled down.

I got a deuce on the artificial island hole and hit a 15 footer to save par on 18 to keep me under for the round.

Woodward Park; Camden,SC:

2-4-3 2-3-5 4-2-3 OUT (28)
3-3-3 3-3-2 3-2-3 IN (25): 53

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Classic Arcade Games: Over/Under Rated

I got one of those joysticks that you can plug into your tv to play classic video arcade games. Mappy sure was an underrated game. That got me thinking...

Ten Most Overrated Arcade Games

10) Defender: I just never quite got it.
9) Centipede: Okay, the only game my wife consistently beat me at (before there was Area 51 or Police Trainer), but still.
8) Frogger: Conceptually okay, but it should just be to get across the road, not into one of the silly houses.
7) Dragon's Lair: Yes, the animation was A+, but as a game, it really wasn't that interesting.
6) Gauntlet: "Wizard needs food, badly..." the first game I thought was designed to suck quarters rather than actually be playable on one.
5)Crystal Castle: Ick.
4)Tetris: A great game for a Gameboy. For an arcade game it was rather tedious.
3) Jungle Hunt: The most annoying game I could never seem to stop playing, maybe because there was never a line.
2) Galaga: I know, this is probably a controversial choice. Docking ships was a nice touch, but it was (and is) still too tied to the Space Invaders template for that late in the game.
1) Ms. Pac-Man: It's like the WNBA, I'm glad it's there and all, but it's really not that entertaining.

Ten Most Underrated Arcade Games

10) Time Pilot: A bit too repetitive, ultimately, but still a fun shoot em up.
9) Mappy: Not quite a classic, but a lot of fun with the doors being clever touches.
8) Arkanoid: Man, those pale blue "D" pills were annoying, but the Laser was fun.
7) Crazy Climber: Hard on the joysticks, but it was fun.
6) Rip Off: My favorite Asteroids derivative. One of the few games that was fun for two players
5) Q*Bert: It didn't hurt that I could turn the game over on a quarter.
4) Elevator Action: Surpsingly addictive little game with minimal graphics but responsive contrls.
3) Klax: Someday I want somebody in a South Park/American Pie type comedy to say "Oooooooo, Klax" right at the moment she...well, never mind.
2) Donkey Kong, Jr.: A bit early for the cute graphics, but a very playable game.
1) Buster Brothers: This game seriously rocked.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Long Loneliness (26-36)

This section contains chapter headings entitled "Home" and "Adolesence."

One trouble that I had with the longer section is that the bulk of it contained a letter Day had written. Then, immediately after giving it, she says, "Written when I was fifteen, this letter was filled with pomp and vanity and piety" (34). Since I didn't experience the letter that way, I wanted her to explain what she meant, but she just sort of goes on to talk about other things. So, I was frustrated both that I wasn't sure what she meant and that she had apparently devoted two full pages to replicating a letter in full only to dismiss it as being unworthy of being remembered.

The most resonant passage in this section for me was in "Home":

"I remember even sad summer afternoons when there was nothing to do, and suddenly everything palled and life was dull and uninteresting. Our parents did nothing to offer us distraction and entertainment. We were forced to meet our moods and overcome them. There were times when my sister and I turned to housework from sheer boredom."

What's so resonant about it?
I've been thinking some in the last year about boredom. What is it? What causes it? Is it a spiritual and emotional condition? (There are hints in this passage that it is.) Is it environmentally prompted, temperamentally caused, or created by a variety of factors?

What is the relationship between economic class and boredom? I'm reminded of Jane Ausen's Emma as a literary example of the idea that boredom can be oppressively pressed upon anyone, regardless of class, by limiting the options of what they are allowed to do.

Then again, this passage reminds me that many of the things we do in response to boredom are merely diversions or distractions from it, and they may not address the underlying spiritual or emotional causes that are making life appear "dull and uninteresting." So, in some reverse way, is the lack of economic resources that forces Day, even at a young age, back on herself, a good thing? Solomon who was both rich and wise, takes a long time to get to the point where he admits that all things are wearisome.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

The Long Loneliness (1-25)

I began Dorothy Day's work as my next entry working through Renovare's 100 Devotional Classics.

The first thing that jumped out at me is that Day can flat out write. After working through Kierkegaard, Augustine, Kempis, and Newman, I began to feel like my capacity for sticking with the spiritual insight through the difficult prose was not as high as I hoped.

Part of that difficulty is no doubt a stylistic one caused by differences in culture and time period; it is not a reflection on the abiliies of the writers.

For example, when Day writes:

Going to confession is hard--hard when you have sins to confess, hard when you haven't, and you rack your brain for even the beginnings of sins against charity, chastity, sins of detraction, sloth or gluttony. You do not want to make too much of your constant imperfections and venial sins, but you want to drag them out to the light of day as the first step in getting rid of them. The just man falls seven times daily.

it helps me understand confession not just as a sacrament but as a spiritual growth exercise.

I also appreciate her ability to integrate a social concern into her writing without coming across as merely political with a religious sheen:

Another thing I remember about California was the joy of doing good, of sharing whatever we had with others after the earthquake, an event wheich threw us out of our complacent happiness into a world of castrophe.

"Castrophe" is the strongest word here, but it is "complacent happiness" that sends ripples most deep.

I also appreciated her claim that "I believed and yet was afraid of nothingness" (20). Is this a 20th century thing, I wonder? The believer who fears not hell, but--if I am wrong--sould annhilation/non-existence?

Can't say too much about it, but this passage says a lot about the ability of formative experiences and lessons to shape our subsequent lives:

We had never had to do without a servant before, and the household tasks, the washing and the cooking, were too much for my mother, who after her four children had a series of miscarriages. I took my dishwashing very seriously and I remember scouring faucets until they shone. The work grew wearisome of course; it did not always have the aspect of a game. But it had to be done, and after some months of it I was well used to doing my share.

I'm looking forward to reading more.

Art You Should Like

A work in progress from my favorite visual artist.