Coding project generator
I made some progress, but last week this project was mostly crowded out by other things. I don’t think it’s in danger yet.
I finished season 2 of The OA. What a strange show. But good, and I’m looking forward to where they take things in season 3. It’s become gradually more epic and rapidly very meta, which I love. It also seems more confident this season. Season 1 felt a little awkward to me.
Before I got my new TV in January, I had taken a long break from TV shows and movies while I worked on my various projects. Now I’m catching up on all the shows I put on hold. There are a lot of them, and it’s been so long I don’t remember them all or where I left off. So I’m having to research my own viewing history.
For now I’m in the mood for Marvel Netflix shows, and the next on that list turned out to be season 2 of Jessica Jones. So that’s what I’m watching now.
I didn’t want to get stuck in catching up on shows, so I decided to intersperse some movies.
Friday, after spending way too much time sorting through the options, I watched Coherence, a sci fi film about a dinner party during a visit from a physics-bending comet. This one really did feel awkward. It was clear the actors were ad libbing the dialog based on some kind of plot-driven outline. It didn’t all make sense. Still, it came together in the end, and I ended up feeling it was worth watching. Also from this review I discovered the genre of mumblecore.
Another sci fi movie that caught my attention was The Beyond. I watched the first half late Saturday night, so I’ll write my thoughts on it next week. But it quickly went far beyond awkward. It’s probably the cringiest movie I’ve seen.
I finished Craig Keener’s Miracles. It reopened my mind to supernatural events. The book dumps a flood of miracle stories on the reader, and a number of them sound credible, especially when they were originally told by skeptics who then became less skeptical, or at least more confused. Many of the events seem hard to explain, such as the ones where people regrew body parts, among even stranger stories.
The world contains plenty of fraud, but this book brings me back to the place of wondering how far explanations like that can go. It reminds me of the beef I’ve had with skeptics, that their debunkings sometimes feel cursory and impatient, as if explaining part of the evidence is good enough for dismissing the rest of it and can’t we just declare victory and get on with our lives.
The book gives me a lot of good starting points for further research on several topics. I have a few directions to take my religious research after this:
- Learn how skeptics approach the paranormal.
- Compare Christian miracles to miracles from other religions. This kind of context gives me clarity.
- Investigate mystical experiences, especially prophetic ones. Miracles that involve content seem more helpful than ones that leave us with an uninterpreted event, such as a healing.
Last week I also ran across a talk by David Eagleman, who takes the same approach I do to the question of religion. He calls it possibilianism. Instead of only pitting Christianity and atheism against each other, as if they were the only real options, we should be examining the whole field of possible worldviews, even ones that haven’t been invented yet.
Next I’m listening to a few books on writing skills. I’m too impatient to wait till after my fiction month. I’m starting with Writing to Be Understood by Anne Janzer.
Monday I had the day off for Memorial Day. I spent a large chunk of it listening to the rain and talking on the phone with my online friend Paul. He’s having a spiritual awakening, coming back to Christianity after many years away. He and I come at religion from different backgrounds, so it’s been interesting and edifying to interact about it.
Paul has the kind of new believer enthusiasm that challenges my jaded faith. He’s only just beginning to figure things out, of course, and we share a bewilderment at all the theological options. I discovered them slowly over time. He’s getting them all at once. If he’d been recruited by a particular church, maybe he would’ve settled on that one, but he came back to Jesus on his own outside of organized religion.
I’ve lived my whole life in evangelicalism, so I’m able to give him a lot of Christian info. But explaining it to him makes me realize how strange and excessive some of it sounds, such as the nuances of the Trinity, which I ended up rambling about while trying to explain the concept of a cult. It also shows me that some of what I “know” is based on old prejudices rather than careful research, such as my ideas of what other religious groups believe.
Wednesday we got an email from our dad saying his brother Lee had died the day before. His heart had stopped during surgery on his abdomen. Our parents would be driving out for the funeral in the following days.
I reflected on my intersection with my uncle’s life. My family lived several states away from both sides of the extended family, and we only saw one side or the other during summer vacations and sometimes at Christmas. So I ended up not knowing my extended family very well. As a child I was intimidated by Uncle Lee because of his slightly aggressive humor. I never knew how to respond to him. But I think I do that to people too, so I can’t really complain.
When I visited his family much later, a lot of life had happened, and he seemed to have mellowed to my speed. I remember he spoke tenderly of his youngest son, who had special needs and had died years before, and of their church’s support for him.
Later that visit, we dropped by his neighbor’s house to chat. His neighbor made us some Folgers. One of my weird hang-ups to that point had been to avoid coffee, but I decided to take advantage of this chance to get over it, and so that instant vanilla cappuccino was my introduction to coffee.
After the worship team rehearsal Saturday morning, I borrowed the laptop to record samples of most of the instrument patches in MainStage. That’s the synthesizer software we use.
I think people tend to have preferences for the aspects of music they pay attention to. I’m weak on rhythm, but I get a lot of meaning out of harmony. Another one of mine is timbre. It makes me glad our worship pastor put me on synth, because it gives me a wide range of timbres to play around with.
Since I don’t have MainStage at home, the recordings I made will let me choose the patches that will work for our performances so I can expand on the few options I’ve been using.
Also on Saturday morning, I was considering the little birds that stop by the kitchen end of the balcony, the opposite end from the robin’s nest. I wondered if there were other bird’s nests hiding on my balcony. Looking along the beams above, I found one. I put my phone on a selfie stick to check it out. It looked abandoned, like just a big clump of garbage. But on the third attempt, I caught a glimpse of something. After lunch I bought a light for my 360-degree camera and set it on video recording so I could get a better view.