the new york post, which will be laden with links

So, in 9 days, Steph and I: 

  • stayed at the White House Hotel on Bowery Street, in a room about the size of a shoebox with no solid ceiling and no outlets (it was better than it sounds) 
  • ate at S’Mac (twice), the Hard Rock Cafe in Times Square, Planet Hollywood in Times Square, Famous Famiglia Pizza (twice), The Original Soup Man (the inspiration for Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi–we did get bread, though), a random place in Grand Central Station, the McDonald’s at the Manhattan Mall, a street vendor (we ate a pretzel and a hot dog in front of the Fox News building and counted four typos in their news ticker–shameful), Pommes Frites (three times–it was that good, and we both recommend the sweet mango chutney dipping sauce), a Revolutionary-War era tavern, Peanut Butter and Co., the Life Cafe (we’re Rentheads, we had to), the oldest pizzeria in the United States (which makes really great pizza, to boot), Shake Shack (among the best burgers I have ever eaten, and the best root beer float I’ve ever had), and a random bar in Union Square
  • went to H&M, Saks 5th Avenue (10 stories of clothes and $2000 purses, girls), Tiffany’s (we thought about going back and eating breakfast in front of the window, Audrey Hepburn-style), the American Girl Place, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral (we almost stayed for the stations of the cross, but decided against it)
  • got lost in The Strand (18 miles of books, kids)
  • went to a slam at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe, where we were regaled (on Good Friday, even) to a woman rambling on about a religion she was going to start that was based around women’s bodies–Steph and I looked at each other and raised our eyebrows quite a bit–and also some really good work (even though the guy we both were rooting for lost, aw)
  • got crushed in the giant Toys R Us in Times Square, which has New York Hello Kittys and a Ferris wheel, which was kind of great
  • got smushed in the TKTS booth line
  • sat four rows away from Michael McKean, Ian McShane, and Raul Esparza during The Homecoming, a Pinter work and among the weirdest things I’ve ever sat through, although we were close enough to smell the cigar smoke, which was nice (and we got to say “hi” and “that was a great show” to Raul at the end, which made us both swoon a bit)
  • attended Easter services at Redeemer and heard Tim Keller preach a stellar sermon, which made our day
  • wandered through Central Park and looked at Bethesda Fountain (gorgeous), and stumbled upon some morris dancers, including one that looked almost exactly like my friend Adam, which is still weirding me out–oh, and their money-collecting guy treated us to the line, “We gratefully accept your money, which will be quickly squandered; it takes a lot of beer to dance this well.”
  • wandered the East Village
  • got lost more frequently than we would care to say…
  • got crushed on the 1 train on the way uptown
  • saw Grant’s Tomb (where Grant and Mrs. Grant really are entombed, thanks for asking), which made Steph the consummate Civil War nerd very happy
  • had to go to an AT&T store to do something about Steph’s phone, which randomly died on her about the third day of the trip
  • shopped at American Apparel
  • went to Brooklyn, bought stuff at Brooklyn Industries (cute stuff, if expensive), ogled at the superhero supplies at 826 NYC, popped in a cute green-living store, and ate ice cream
  • crossed the Brooklyn Bridge
  • stayed in one night and watched a DVD of (not even kidding) The Mole that Steph found at a random East Village music store
  • went to the New York Public Library
  • found the cover of The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan, sans Bob and the girl, of course
  • read kids’ books in The Scholastic Store
  • popped into M&M World
  • bought souvenirs
  • went to see Rent and LOVED it immensely

Did we have a good time? Of course.

    well, i’m back

    Back from New York, back to blogging, and I have pictures and stories to tell, of course, but not now (too much laundry to do). And the day I got back, I got a very nice letter in the mail from the University of Texas, telling me I have a spot in the iSchool in the fall. So, lots to say, lots to write–but first, I gotta put my jeans in the washer.

    here in the death of Christ I live.

    It’s Holy Week–we remember what the creeds tell us, that “He suffered under Pontius Pilate; He was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell; He rose again on the third day.” The One who came incarnate was broken and bloodied, suffered the wrath of God, and rose again that we might rise with Him. This is the gospel that we believe.

    Now, this has a strange resonance with me, especially the Tuesday before Easter, because three years ago around this time, I hit bottom in a big way, mainly because of my failure to believe the gospel. (If you haven’t been reading long, you can read my immediate thoughts on this particular incident here.) At the time it felt scary and dark as hell*, but looking back on it, I think it was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.

    See, I kept looking for grace by trying to earn it. I wore my own righteousness like a badge, not even realizing that it was just a pile of rags. In that moment, when I finally let myself realize that, God reached down and stripped it away from me, only to dress me in Himself. And if that isn’t the gospel, I don’t know what is.

    I remember thinking, right before I started freaking out, “I will not die, but live…” I looked it up later and I found out the rest of the sentence: “…and declare the works of the Lord.” And how can I not? How can you not?Remember, brothers and sisters, that Jesus’ death has become our life, His resurrection is our own, and He lavishes the riches of His grace on us. If you don’t believe that, I hope and pray that He’d open your eyes to see it–to see Him, I should say. Let the good news be your hope and joy this week.

    “O cross that liftest up my head,
    I dare not ask to fly from thee!
    I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
    And from the ground there blossoms red
    Life that shall endless be!”

    –George Matheson, “O Love That Will Not Let Me Go”

    (*With C.S. Lewis, I say that this isn’t frivolous swearing–I mean, really, that it felt like hell.)

    the key’s under the mat.

    I’m going offline for a while, probably until I get back from New York on the 28th (Steph and I are going up there for vacation, woo). Have a great rest of Lent, a wonderful, wonderful Easter (and may I say a premature “He is risen indeed”).

    While I’m gone, here is a reader survey:

    1) Give me five things you want to do before you die, aside from “get married, have kids, love Jesus” or some variation thereof.

    2) What’s the longest thing you’ve ever memorized, and do you still remember it?

    3) What’s the longest book you’ve ever read?

    4) You’re on a desert island–which four fictional characters would you want with you?

    5) What superpower would you least want to have?

    6) So. Who are you going to vote for in the presidential elections?

    7) Which website would you say you frequent the most? (If anyone says this one, I will be very worried.)

    Oh, yeah, and here’s the first place act from this year’s Sing at Baylor:


    this week: 13 movies that basically explain you.

    1. sister act 2 (Christian school, choir…)

    2. high fidelity (listmaking, music snobbery)

    3. martian child (the whole adoption angle, plus the weird feeling i’ve always had of not feeling at home in most places)

    4. magnolia (i am a broken mess; i like seeing the odd ways in which we’re all connected)

    5. rent (mark cohen is my freaking hero)

    6. little women (and so is jo march)

    7. slam nation (poetry slam = love)

    8. the motorcycle diaries (i have always wanted to do that, minus the sex and the becoming a communist revolutionary part)

    9. the patriot (i love colonial history)

    10. dead poets society (i’ve told y’all about the time we actually did the “o captain, my captain” thing, right?)

    11. return to me (because i ache for Grace, too)

    12. the matrix (i freak myself out on occasion by wondering, what if this all isn’t real anyway? plus, if i believed in reincarnation, i’d want to come back as trinity)

    13.  oh, uh, the emperor’s new groove. for reasons i’m not really sure of, but it really does work. i don’t know why.

    “is that a ufo…? no, it’s a helicopter.”

    (starting music: Sandra McCracken – Abiding City)

    1. I realized not too long ago that I have the kind of personality that sort of enjoys being miserable, that sometimes I’ll seek out ways to drive myself nuts so I can take pleasure in it. I have no idea why this is, other than I am a sick freak. (Well, and my own depravity, but I hope that was a given.)

    2. Anyone have $3 million so we can buy this?

    3. I told my friend last weekend that if worse comes to worse, I might have to write in Sam and Dean Winchester for president. Yes, both of them. I may actually have to do this.

    4. My mom comes home next week, after a nearly six-month-long stint in the hospital–we rejoice (as does the insurance company, I’m sure, ha). So that’s a good good thing, and thanks for praying, everyone.

    5. Steph and I went to go see No Country for Old Men–first of all, I was audibly gasping and I think I might have shrieked just a tiny bit in the process, and it takes a lot for a movie to do that to me. It’s intense, it’s pretty grim, it leaves a lot more questions than answers, and Javier Bardem was right in saying in his Oscar speech that his character had the worst freaking haircut in cinema history. BUT. It’s a good movie, people. In the midst of the bleak there are some tiny, tiny moments of grace, and that made it worth it for me.

    6. It’s Saturday evening, I’m listening to Garrison Keillor talk to me on the radio, and eating some decent pad thai. The weather outside is gorgeous, my laundry’s clean, I got the new Radiohead CD today, and there’s the Lord’s Day in the morning. I’m content. Hope you are, too.