Saturday, December 2, 2023

Snapshots from a Week: Gloomy Weather, Vevo Christmas Channel, and Writing Samples

Today needs to be a day of grading and sermon writing, perhaps with a trip on the Blue Ridge Parkway to the Southern Highland Craft Guild, where they are having a sale on handmade items, an end of the year sale.  Let me capture a few events from the past week while I am still remembering them.

--On Thursday, we went to the Highland Brewing Company.  This beer, in all of its varieties, is one of our favorites, so I'm surprised we didn't go to the brewery before.  My spouse wanted us to choose a flight of beers and then have the bartender choose a flight that he thought we wouldn't like, based on what we had ordered.  I thought it was odd, but I was game.  The bartender also thought it was strange but quickly came around to relishing the challenge.

I liked the flight we ordered best--no surprise there.  My all-time favorite of the day was the Black Watch, a double milk stout that's only available seasonally.  But the other flight had surprises.  My spouse really liked the Cowboy Chords, a sour wheat ale.  I really liked the Highland Lounge Juice, a double IPA with lots of tropical fruit notes.

It was a fun expedition, a break in the day, a treat.  Hurrah for that.

--Yesterday was gloomy and drizzly, the kind of weather I love, but it makes my spouse depressed.  We had moved some firewood inside, since the forecast for the week-end was for gloomy weather.  So, without ado, yesterday we built a fire in the early afternoon and kept it going all day long.  It was lovely.

--I was sad to hear of the death of Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, another of that generation that opened doors for the rest of us.  As I read the retrospectives, I was impressed with her determination and insistence, while at the same time remembering the humanity of those who had said no to her.  We seem to have lost that ability in this current moment.  Or maybe it always seems that the most vocal of us have lost that ability.  I am grateful for all the rulings that she made that remembered that real people will be impacted by these laws and these judgments.

--I made this Facebook post:  My TV is playing a Vevo Christmas channel, which is all Christmas music videos, from the classic to the contemporary, and these videos are fascinating! They're part time capsule, part message from a land I scarcely recognize. The commercials are also mostly Christmas themed. It's like some strange Hallmark adjacent universe my Roku stick has found, mostly good cheer and dreams come true and winter wonderlands, along with strange commercials for strange medications, where the possible side effects seem worse than a cure.

I also made this follow up post:  This Katy Perry Christmas video ("Cozy Little Christmas") that features naked Santa and naked Katy getting massages by reindeer hooves is rather trippy.

--My uncle still puts oat bran on his Cheerios.  Seeing his Ziplock bag of oat bran took me back to grad school, where the benefits of oat bran first came to public consciousness, where a group of us experimented with all sorts of recipes that featured it.  Was an apple oat bran muffin better than an apple oatmeal muffin?  

--I applied for a full-time teaching job at Spartanburg Methodist College, and I needed to decide which writing sample to include with the electronic application.  I decided on an essay that was just published in Gather Magazine.  I included the Word document and a picture of the Table of Contents.

If they want someone who does traditional academic publishing, that's not me, and I don't have anything that would convince them otherwise.  The posting didn't mention academic writing but included this wide variety of possible specialties:   "We are especially interested in candidates with areas of specialization in professional writing; technical communication; digital and social media studies; visual rhetorics; business, grant, and non-profit writing; or editing and publishing. Additional experience with creative writing and/or journalism is welcome."

I thought the article, which talks about ways to stay spiritually connected, even when one can't go to spiritual places, was a good fit.  As a way of showing that I'm conversant in visual rhetorics, I thought about including a link to my YouTube channel in the cover letter, but I just wasn't sure.  I did consider poetry publications, but I thought an article in a magazine with national distribution was a much better choice.  I am aware of all the ways I might have miscalculated.

Last year, when I first started to think about alternate housing in the face of the meeting that announced that our seminary housing would be torn down in August of 2023, I applied for some full-time community college jobs.  They did not require writing samples.  

The rain will begin again soon, so let me go for a walk while the weather is decent.  The temperature is in the mid 50's, which seems like a gift for December.

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