February 2007 Archives

Midwinter's drear: Literary Review

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Last weekend I had a "five day weekend" in that I didn't go to work for five days. This weekend's paltry two pales in comparison and has me slightly weary of the thought of going back to work... of course I've had nothing to do all weekend, so perhaps a full five day week will get me back in the swing of things.

Last weekend was long because I burned two vacation days in a last second attempt to somehow pass the final portion of the CPA exam (Financial Accounting & Reporting). My initial feeling is that I am as optimistic about passing as the last two exams... and I passed those. In all honesty, I deserve to fail, but I'm praying for a miracle here.

If I passed the section, an open-book ethics exam is the only thing standing between me and the letters CPA. That would be rockin.

Thursday night, before the exam, I went to study at Barnes and Noble and instead ended up purchasing and reading Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama. Like other instances when I was supposed to be studying, I found entertainment in the spine of an excellent book. After the exam, I polished off the rest of the book over the weekend and I'd heartily recommend it. Funny thing is, after reading the book (and really liking it), I'm less likely to vote for Obama. While I think he's a good guy, it's so obvious to me that he's searching for God... and God is right there in front of him, but he can't see or recognize God. At least at the age of 33, Barack clearly does not have a faith, and thus the answers that he supplies for his questions of identity seem hollow and illogical.

Throughout the book, Barack struggles with his identity. What does it mean to be the son of his father, who he only met once. He heard stories, but was confused by the fact that his father was absent. What does it mean to be a black American? What does it mean to be a mulato? What does it mean to have a family he's never met? Why do people continue to make poor decisions. Why are humans frail and selfish? He doesn't specifically identify all these questions, but he's clearly dancing around them.

Unfortunately for Barack, he never grew up with a Christian role model and so the answers he was seeking, which seem so plainly obvious to me, were elusive and he can't seem to find the answers. Finally, he went to Africa to meet his father's family and he found some sort of peace with his past and his life. He seemed to find an identity... but his conclusion was that his father and his father's father were just doing the best they could in the situations they found themselves in.

His Grandfather grew up in a tribal culture and had to adapt as the British built a railroad through Kenya that threatened that culture. His Grandfather had a rough relationship with his great-grandfather, and that distance was passed down to his father. All of these men had multiple wives and multiple children, and the polygamous relationships really extracted a toll on brothers, sisters, and wives. What it left Barack with was an extensive family of brothers, sisters, aunts, and cousins that essentially made it through life on their own.

Barack's conclusion that man can only do the best for the situation he finds himself in rings especially true when faced with the reality of an entire family struggling with it's identity. It is clearly a case of a man looking for purpose in life and not finding that unifying strength that ties Christian families together.

At least that's my take on it.

This weekend, I read John Grisham's The King of Torts. While it was good, it seemed like a morality lesson rather than a good intriguing book. The problem was that the story seemed a little predictable and lacked a specific case or circumstance to really sink your teeth into. I'd recommend it, but not highly.

Alright, that's it for the literary review.

High - Low

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Every week, my home group does something called "high low." We go around the room and everybody in the room tells about the best and worst thing that has happened in the last week. But, since it is Sunday and I already know my "high low," I'll share.

High I bought a condo. Woot! Yep, after much thought into where I would like to live next, and some thought into the budgetary aspects of what I could afford, I (somewhat impulsively) bought a condo five months before I needed to move.

First, I'll backtrack and say that I haven't actually bought the Condo. I wrote an "ernest money" check on Saturday and have until next Saturday to rescind my offer/acceptance (or whatever fancy contract language you want to use.) But, the condo I chose is "off the market" and I can buy it if I choose at a set price and all I still have to do is arrange financing. That financing will be much more than I originally planned to spend, but the allure of owning my own place is quite strong.

The "Condo" is small. It is actually a studio apartment (421 sq. feet) located in the heart of the Loop (at Lake and Wells). It is approximately a twelve minute walk from the building to my work. Additionally, every CTA line (except the Yellow) has a stop within a four block radius of the building. The unit I am buying is quite high up, so hopefully I won't be bothered too badly by the trains running by.

Another good thing is that there is a current tenant in the Condo and that person's lease runs through May 31... so I will continue to live at Keystone until early to mid-June. This part has my current roommate happy. (Of course I'm hoping a previously sold unit comes back onto the market so I can buy a slightly larger studio. This would mean I move in early to mid April... but it would give me an extra 30 sq. feet.)

Low Bears 17, Colts 29. Frown.