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7 Quick Takes: Francis, Films, Feeds, and Phones

Friday, March 15, 2013

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7 Quick Takes: Francis, Films, Feeds, and Phones | Faith Permeating Life


— 1 —

It's been a while since I did a 7 Quick Takes post! There's a lot I want to talk about, so this seemed the best format to share it in. Thankfully, this has been a fairly restful week, as Mike and I took advantage of the school's spring break to head to a bed and breakfast for a few days. It's the second time we've done this (the first was while we were living in Chicago) and I think this may be our preferred form of vacation, with a combination of time spent walking outdoors and time spent relaxing with games and movies. Now we're back on campus and it's fairly quiet as most students went elsewhere for break, which is a nice change, but I am looking forward to having everyone back.

— 2 —

I have (tentatively) good news on the job front. An office on campus that I'd applied to literally all the way back in January -- several weeks before I quit my job and before the provost said he was interested in creating a position for me -- said they'll be interviewing in April and want to interview me for the position. I'm fairly certain I would enjoy the job very much, but this also gives me the leverage to push for a decision on the new assessment position I want created. The provost said he'd know if there would be the budget for it in 30 days, which is Monday, so I'll be able to follow up about that, share the draft position description I've created, and let him know I have another opportunity on campus that I'm interested in. With two opportunities in the works, it's looking more possible that I could land a job on campus, which would be fantastic.

— 3 —

Mike and I are poised to start the adoption process in the next few months, which I'm very excited about, but we're holding off on taking any concrete steps until the dust settles on my job search and I have a new position I feel confident in. Whether I get a job on campus or end up doing something else will affect what our childcare plans look like, and we'll also need to provide an agency information on both of our jobs, our annual household salary, and related things that are contingent on where I end up. Although both of us are confident that we'll figure out a schedule and a budget that works well for our whole family, we can't just tell an agency what we keep telling each other, which is, "We'll make it work... I'm sure we'll be fine."

— 4 —

In news outside of my personal family, the Catholic Church has a new pope as of yesterday. I have mixed feelings about this pope based on what I've learned so far, knowing full well that what I think of the pope doesn't have much bearing on anything. I think it's great that we have the first Jesuit pope; having ties to multiple schools founded by religious orders, I have somewhat of a bias for those priests over diocesan priests. I was excited to finally have a pope from somewhere other than Europe (in this case, Argentina), but since his ancestry is fully Italian, it's hard not to feel like it was a token gesture on the part of the cardinals to pick a "foreign" pope who's not actually that foreign. I'm not thrilled that he has alleged ties to the 1976 kidnappings of two priests (a more detailed story here), though it's possible that this experience will push him to be more transparent and less likely to cover up scandal than the papacy has been previously. He's anti-gay marriage and anti-gay adoption, though that's not terribly surprising. He's being primarily touted as a humble, quiet man, so we'll see what that means for his role as pope.


(via Catholic Memes)


— 5 —

The other thing blowing up my Twitter feed yesterday besides the new pope was the impending retirement of Google Reader. I am really unhappy about this. It is not an exaggeration to say that my life was improved when I started using Google Reader. Most recently, it's been a vital part of my job search because I can use Page2RSS to create RSS feeds for the job pages on organizations I'm interested in, plus RSS feeds from my Indeed searches and elsewhere to mean that I don't have to spend any time chasing postings because anything relevant pops up in my Reader. I have over 120 subscriptions organized by topic, and I regularly use the search function to find old posts I remember reading about particular topics.

The Internet consensus seems to be that there's no product that matches the functionality and ease of use of Google Reader. And before you say, "You can't complain about losing something you got for free anyway" -- I would gladly pay to keep using Google Reader. That's how integral it is to my daily workflow. As of my writing this, there are over 88,000 signatures on this Change.org petition to keep Google Reader going, and I'm hoping it might just make a difference.

— 6 —

I have a long list of blog post ideas that I've never gotten to, and two of these are posts I wanted to do about movies, Bruce Almighty and Courageous. Although neither of these are exactly timely, it occurred to me that I could do something more encompassing, like a weeklong series or weekly series about films dealing with faith. I'm not a seasoned film critic, and I'm not that interested in delving into the theology explored in each movie, but I would like to talk about how well I think each movie does at communicating messages about faith to the general public (e.g., I think Bruce Almighty does a nice job handling the question, "Why doesn't God answer all our prayers?" whereas Courageous shoots itself in the foot trying to stick in bonus messages about purity rings and gender roles).

So my questions to you are 1) Does this sound interesting to you? 2) What other movies would you like to see analyzed in this way? 3) Should I open this up as a guest post series?

— 7 —

One nice way to end my week will (knock on wood) be getting a replacement phone activated today. I have an old-style flip phone that's over four years old, and the screen went completely blank a few weeks ago, meaning I can send and receive calls but can't view texts or see who's calling me. I took it to the only non-iPhone phone repair place in town, who ordered a new screen for it, which took a week to come in, and then that didn't fix the problem. I don't want to switch to a smartphone for a variety of reasons, but the flip phones are no longer being subsidized so they're much more expensive, plus I'm hesitant about buying a new phone unless absolutely necessary after learning about the ethical issues surrounding coltan mining (h/t to Cathi for that guilt-inducing information). Mike called his parents and found out that his dad had switched providers and still had his old Verizon-compatible flip phone, which he was happy to mail me. As I mentioned, we've been out of town this week, but I should be able to pick up my new/old phone today and take it to get activated. I am looking forward to being to text Mike again!

Those are my 7 Quick Takes for the week! To join the linkup or see other links, visit Conversion Diary.

21 comments:

  1. I would be interested in reading about films dealing with faith, including some guest posts. I always meant to get around to writing about the faith aspect of Avatar...but I'm interested in your take on that one, too.

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    Replies
    1. I haven't seen Avatar; Mike saw it and said it was boring, predictable, and way too long, so I had no desire to see it. But if you're interested in writing a guest post, I'd love to get your thoughts on it and maybe be enticed to watch it :)

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  2. 2. Good luck with the job!

    3. That's really exciting! Best wishes.

    4. My feelings on the new pope are pretty much the same. I think they could have done a lot worse, though. I went to a Jesuit college and Jesuits are awesome.

    5. I am SO MAD about Google Reader. I was mad when they took away the sharing feature, too- maybe someone will create something that's just like Google Reader when it had that? Maybe? I need to look into what my new reader options are.

    6. I think that's a great idea! Bring on the movie commentary. One movie I saw recently that surprised me with the religious issues it touched on was The Sessions.

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    1. I hadn't heard of The Sessions until I read your post about the Oscars (::goes to Google Reader to pull up that post::). It sounds interesting. Would you be interested in writing a guest post on what the movie communicates about faith and religion?

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    2. Yeah, I might! I'd have to re-watch it, but once you get the series going I'd be happy to contribute!

      The other movie that I thought of is one that I think everyone, both in real life and the blogosphere, is probably really sick of hearing me talk about- Les Mis, which has a LOT of messages about faith and Christianity in it.

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  3. UGH COURAGEOUS! ::Banging head on the wall::

    UGH GOOGLE READER ::More banging head on the wall:: While I've begun transitioning to Bloglovin and it's going well thus far - I would still love for my GReader to be back. I signed the petition last night!

    And YAY for the exciting news about jobs and babies!!!!!! SQUEEEE!!!!!!!!

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    Replies
    1. Since Google Reader's not retiring for a few more months, I'm holding out on transitioning my feeds, especially after reading the critiques of Bloglovin and Feedly as substitutes. If Google isn't going to support Reader anymore, I wish they'd at least release the code open source so someone else could provide the same functionality. Maybe someone else will design something just as good or better in the meantime. We'll see :)

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  4. Yes to discussing movies (or other aspects of culture/art that lend insight to faith)!

    I just found out about Google Reader today: *wails*.

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    Replies
    1. Would love to have you as a guest writer if there's a particular movie you'd be interested in writing about! I'm most interested in exploring movies that explicitly reference faith in one way or another, and how well they handle the topic for a secular audience. Any thoughts?

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    2. Sherwood productions/Kirk Cameron have several good movies.
      Dad

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    3. Thanks, Dad. Courageous is a Sherwood movie, and I didn't like it enough to seek out others, but if there's another one in particular people want analyzed, I wouldn't mind watching it.

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  5. In regards to number 3: The adoption process takes a while, and I wouldn't wait until you have a job to start the paperwork, fingerprinting, and background checks (that alone can take 6-8 weeks, at least in Illinois). You can always update your employment and child care information with the adoption agency whenever it changes, and that might allow you to at least start the process a little sooner. You know, so you can hurry up and wait. :)

    As for the potential campus job, I hope that works out!! Sounds pretty ideal. :) I would read posts discussing films about religion. I love "Bruce Almighty," it's one of my favorites! I'll keep thinking of others that might be good to discuss.

    -Missy

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    Replies
    1. That's a fair point about the adoption. I guess part of me is afraid of jinxing things by starting any process with the assumption that I will have a new job soon. What if it takes four months again, like last time? The other, related issue is that we don't have quite as much money saved as I'd wanted to have before we started the process, and now rather than putting money in we're taking some out to continue paying off Mike's last student loan, which we're on track to have paid off by the end of the year. So I'd feel better having a handle on what our finances will be like before getting the ball rolling on adoption.

      You can bet I will be relying on your expertise once we get started!

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    2. Your desire for financial stability and sufficient savings makes sense, especially because the adoption process is so expensive! I completely respect your desire for that to be "settled" first. I would still say, if you're comfortable with the financial situation, it probably wouldn't hurt anything to start the fingerprinting-and-background-check process, and you can wait to schedule your home study (which is when they look at employment and income) until you know your employment situation. It also can't hurt to start researching local adoption agencies (which you may already have done!), make some phone calls, and do some interviews. You want to work with an adoption worker and agency who makes you comfortable and whom you feel you can talk to honestly, and that may not happen on your first try. In addition, your family income and your eligibility as an adoptive family will not hinge on whether you have a job or not. It is perfectly okay to say "My intent is to work full-time, and I am in the process of applying for jobs." Then you can explain what your plans are for child care assuming you are working full time. And when you do start working, if your home study has already been completed, the adoption agency can do a quick "home study update" that summarizes any changes that have occurred since the original report. However, sometimes this update costs another fee (we charge $200, I don't know the going rate in your area), so that is an argument for waiting on the home study. But there is a lot of paperwork and waiting BEFORE you do the home study, that you could get done while you are home and not working full-time, and you can always schedule the home study for several months from now if needed. Those are just my thoughts, but do whatever makes the most sense for you! :)

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  6. I'm happy for you guys starting the adoption process. Good luck!

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  7. Very exciting stuff going on! And I am also not pleased about Google Reader. WHY?!

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    1. Because they couldn't monetize it, I assume. But c'mon, Google, aren't you all about building brand loyalty and stuff?

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  8. Prayers for you and your husband as you begin the adoption process!!!

    What a great idea for guest's on movies like that!! I would love to contribute...just saw Courageous on the way home from the March for Life this year! Saw your blog from Jen's link up...love all the resource tabs at the top!
    God bless:)

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  9. I would definitely be interested in reading your take on different films about faith!

    (And yes, I am also very sad about losing Reader.)

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  10. i'd be up for your you movie posts. I've seen bruce almighty (I and II), but not courageous. A couple movies i saw recently: for greater glory & fireproof. And a few others i'd like to see soon: restless heart, romero, entertaining angels, and pope john paul II.

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