Friday, July 13, 2012

Pop Culture Roundup

I read Any Day a Beautiful Change by Katherine Willis Pershey the other week. I used to read her blog of same name quite regularly years ago, during which time I even discovered that she grew up in the Akron area before heading to seminary and her first call in California. This relatively short book is a collection of interrelated essays about her experiences as a pastor, wife, and mother; the joys, frustrations, highs and lows of each and how she strives to strike a balance between them. Pershey's writing style is flowing and accessible, and does well at balancing weightiness with whimsy. She is able to draw out the spiritual aspects of bonding with her unborn child, the pain and release of breastfeeding, and the challenges of marriage, as just a few examples, with a sort of care that doesn't gloss over what's really happening in each. I can't say that I always felt like I was the target audience for this book, but it was a great read anyway.

Also, since my spiritual direction certification program starts late next month (!), I've been reading A Pilgrim's Testament, which is a collection of memoirs dictated by Ignatius of Loyola to his friend Luis Goncalves da Camara. I'm only a few chapters in so far, so Ignatius has recounted his experience of being wounded in battle and his subsequent reflections on spirituality that started him on a pilgrimmage. He seems to have had visions quite often, as he briefly tells about a few of them here. These shared experiences in general seem quite rough and raw both in their telling but also in their actuality, but spiritual experiences are generally less movie-ready--so to speak--anyway.

We've been keeping up with True Blood, which has really had some dramatic developments already this season. Eric and Bill, under threat of the True Death, have been hunting for Russell Edgington, and this past week tracked him to an abandoned asylum (of course) with Sookie's help, since Sookie always has to be involved. Actually, Sookie had an amusing rant about how abnormal her life is: "You guys are back in my house and a 3000-year-old vampire wants to suck my blood. Must be Thursday!" Besides that, there's a vigilante group going around killing shifters, and they pay Luna a visit while Sam is over, and it doesn't go well for either of them. Jason is still kind of trying to figure his life out, and it doesn't help when he and a few others are taken to some kind of "fairy safe haven" made to look like a nightclub, where someone else there lets slip that vampires may have killed his parents. So yeah, just another day in the life for these characters.

Also, that fairy nightclub scene featured "Sleep Isabella" by Abney Park, which I just thought was awesome.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that a new Dave Matthews Band album is dropping this fall, and the band  has released a few things on Youtube to promote it. First is the studio version of "Mercy," which they've been playing live already:

The other is a brief collection of in-studio clips and features another new song: