09 April 2007

marathon holy week roundup

happy (belated) easter! it's been grant applications and workshop talks and church, oh my! on palm sunday, i swallowed some major liturgical worries and headed off to church at the university lutheran chapel, where the processions are not solemn and the altar is in the middle.

[public speaking]

we spent most of the week commuting back and forth between berkeley and palo alto, putting finishing touches on a presentation for thursday and wending our way through some exciting python code. i learned how to translate the "dude, where's my natural experiment?" slide eventually got cut from our talk, but i still managed to give a brief and slightly coherent digression on instrumental variables in the Q&A.

[last supper]

instead of the usual anglicized quasi-seder, my maundy thursday meal took place in an asian fusion restaurant where the talk was appropriate estimators for standard error in multiple systems estimation, good san francisco restaurants, and (!!!) SUV vandalism. after a couple of weeks of bandying it about at social gatherings, my conclusion is that the vandalism conundrum captivates just about anyone who's offended by climate change. i arrived back at the house to a terrifyingly large amount of chocolate -- leavened with LCD rubber duckies, a kazoo and a harmonica -- recently arrived from minnesota.

[actually not a digression]

wow, we sure are throwing a lot of money at plan colombia. good thing it works so well for everyone.

[wisdom of Mom]

(good) friday i slept off a cold, talked to laurel about chchchanges, and then called my mum to thank her for the box of calories. in the course of the conversation i was lamenting my recent 'laziness,' which i put down to lack of motivation to do something i'm not (yet) good at. shocking revelation: it's tough to stay on task when your tasks seem designed to remind you how far you have to go. "just imagine how my LD kids feel," she said. right then! perspective restored.

[up the hills]

saturday afternoon meg and i walked about eight miles, from our little house in the flat part of berkeley, up through the fog bank and into the botanic gardens at tilden park, where among other absolutely gorgeous sights we came upon this:

[sound the liar]

back to the chapel, this time with meg, for a marathon holy saturday vigil, a vigil unlike every other vigil i've ever attended. i don't, in the end, think that this is the parish for me. plenty of smells, but maybe insufficient bells. certainly there is not a choir. certainly there was an extremely unfortunate feminist verse sung to the tune of "be thou my vision." HOWEVER. i love the intensity with which these folks connect scripture with their political actions. one of the old testament readings was an interactive, with some congregation member designated to sound each instrument as it was mentioned: trumpets, flutes, tamborines, and so on. pastor jeff was playing the "lyre" and it sounded like "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!" we just about fell out of our seats with joy.


and on the eighth day, it finally got sunny again, and berkeley was beautiful and teeming, and thai brunch was spilling over onto the library lawn, and there were scones and bunny ears and chocolate eggs at emily's -- all very appropriate to the occasion.